A tiny, unassuming storefront in Carroll Gardens is full of knick-knacks and stories. George’s Potpourri has been a Brooklyn haunt for more than 30 years, although the shop has occupied a few different locations. But the store always has the same kitschy feel—shelves of dishes, pottery, jewelry and chinaware all at unheard-of discount prices.
I recently scored a sweet 1970s German porcelain tea set with teapot, creamer, sugar pot, and six cups and saucers— dotted with tiny red and blue flowers. Shopkeeper Mary spotted a chip on the pot and gave me a discount. I’ve found fun brass bells from India shaped like animals. There are teacups from England, dishes from Japan, and piles of cups, plates and spice jars to sort through.
The original “George” is Mary’s father Mario Dandola. He used to sit outside his shop at 500 Court Street and speak with neighbors who wanted to chat. He opened his shop in the late 1970s as a way to offload some of the mismatched porcelain and collectables he had acquired. He seemed to know every going-on in the neighborhood and was a treasured member of the community. Sometimes, he would hold a handful of little skunks made of pipe cleaners to hand out to anyone who stopped by to say hi.
“He was passionate about this neighborhood,” his daughter Mary says. “He didn’t make a lot of money because everything is discounted, but he just liked meeting people.”
George’s death in 2010 was a loss for the community and his family, but his wife Emily and daughter Mary continue to run the shop in honor of George’s commitment to community. Now, the shop is located just down the block from the former store.
Every time I peek my head in the shop, Mary or Emily is talking to someone who has come by to sit and chat. Neighbors check in on them and peruse the chinaware. If you make a big purchase, they’re likely to throw in a small gift. Come for friendly conversation and stay for a while as you sort through the vintage treasures.
Visit the Shop
489 Court St Brooklyn, NY 11231