Local Finds — George’s Potpourri in Brooklyn, New York

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George’s Potpourri

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.

George’s Potpourri

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.

George’s Potpourri

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 Potpourri

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.

George's wife Emily inside George's Potpourri.

George’s wife Emily inside George’s Potpourri.

Visit the Shop

489 Court St Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 855-4721

 
  • CJ Lotz

    It’s all true–this stuff is unbelievably well priced. Dig around a little and I bet you’ll walk away with something fun. Keep a lookout for the neat hunting/outdoor mugs.

  • These are the kinds of shops that NYC is famous for. Great story. I have a number of friends who live in Carroll Gardens and they love going in there. On the UWS where I live these kinds of things would go for obscene amounts of money. I think I’m going to be taking a trip to Brooklyn this weekend!

  • CJ Lotz

    I’m also a recent transplant to New York (from Haiti and before that, the midwest!) so it’s taking me time to find these little places as well. They are out there though, and well worth the hunt.

  • CJ Lotz

    Thanks for reading, Rachel! You never know what you’ll find in all the sweet little shops in Brooklyn. Hopefully you’ll get to visit sometime.

  • CJ Lotz

    The rock climbing gym isn’t too far from here! I hope you do stop by and say hi to them. Keep an eye out for some funky brass bells from India I’ve been seeing in the shop.

  • CJ Lotz

    It’s so great to see people supporting their local communities by making friends and creating small businesses. It gives me hope as well!

  • I recently moved to NY from Florida (in January) and have yet to find all of these “great cultural places” everyone keeps speaking about. I guess this shop is one of the many hidden places. Glad to know they’re out there though, this definitely gives me hope again :)

  • Rachel Morrell

    Such a darling story and shop! I adore shopping in stores like these and wish I lived closer so I could stop in! I’ve forwarded this article to a friend who lives in downtown NY, so hopefully she can pop in some time and snag me something fantastic! Always willing to support great businesses like this that cares about their customers and community! Great story!

  • Marlena

    Thomas couldn’t be more right! I love little stories like this. I used to go to antiquing with my father when I was young, and we would meet the most interesting people. Emily and George are just like those people. My boyfriend and I are going to Brooklyn next week to go rock climbing. Maybe we’ll stop in with some tea, buy those adorable coffee cups, and hear a story or two from Mary and Emily.

  • Such a heartwarming story! Really interesting read, this seems like a great shop. I would love to visit some day. Places like this make me hopeful for all of humanity, after all the terrible things that happen in the world on a daily basis, it’s great to know that people and places like this exist.