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A general store with a Brooklyn twist


amny Credit: Kristy May

Vintage clocks. Ten-cent candy. LayRite deluxe pomade. Antique glassware. A lamp and side table made of antlers — with fringe. Local art. A jean-repair service.

Kill Devil Hill is a love letter to the old-fashioned general store with a Brooklyn edge.

Mary Brockman, a first-time business owner, admitted that starting the Greenpoint endeavor was a little “fly by the seat of your pants.” She pooled the capital she’d been saving to open a bed-and-breakfast with her business partner’s resources to rent the space and launch the boutique in 2008.

“It was super, super grassroots,” said Brockman, 30, who is now the sole proprietor.

The support of the community has been instrumental, said Brockman, an active member of the Greenpoint Business Association, which launched earlier this year. The small businesses along Franklin Street collaborate to host events throughout the year such as last Saturday’s Holiday Stroll.

The other key to her success is that she’s allowed the boutique to evolve organically. When Kill Devil Hill opened, the stock was entirely unique, one-of-a-kind antiques and vintage pieces that the pair had sourced outside the local market. (Brockman, a California native, is partial to Western, as opposed to Northeastern, antiques.)

She’s since brought on more locally made items, including food. It makes sense, said Brockman, because general stores always have sundries.

Brooklyn Brine pickles are now the store’s best-selling item. Having items that you can reorder is key, Brockman said.

“As much as I love having ... one-of-a-kind things, a whole store of that is difficult when you have to be here all the time. … It’s slowly become more 50/50.”

170 Franklin St.
Greenpoint, Brooklyn


By the numbers:

10¢ = Cost of a Mary Jane (candy)
$5 = Cost per inch for jea repair
$4,500 = Cost of an authentic Hopi weaving

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