about Us: Brooklyn Gift | Souvenirs

About Us

About Us:  Brooklyn Gift and Souvenir Shop {Est.1982}.

Read the history behind a 34-year-old surviving family business in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

 “I don’t sell chairs any more,” said Jack Russo, the friendly, soft-spoken proprietor of Gift-Man, the ” Brooklyn Gift and Souvenir Shop on Fifth Avenue. ” I used to, though.” My shop was called, Chair-Man.

Russo got his start working in a chair store on the Bowery, and in 1982 he opened up a store of his own, first above today’s Connecticut Muffin on First and Seventh, and later on Seventh between First and Garfield.  “Customers come in and tell me that they still have the rocking chair I sold them almost 33 years ago!” he said. “Over time, the neighborhood shifted, though. The guy who did our repair work passed away, and gas prices  skyrocketed, which made shipping difficult.”

Our Story continues, on 176 fifth avenue. The neighborhood shifted, so did the Chair Man. Russo has created one of the most enjoyable places to shop in the neighborhood, and if there’s a store that smells better in the entire city, I have yet to find one. “I sell a lot of stuff that smells great,” said Russo. The smell of incense, candles, and scented oils merge with relaxing instrumental music to immediately put the customer at ease.

A sign in the door that says “Browsers Welcome,” and the variety of merchandise certainly makes for an entertaining browse. Large collection of original vintage license plates from every state and year. Small gifts sterling silver and precious stones jewelry. Brooklyn and New York City-themed merchandise,  baby t-shirts, join imported items like Japanese Kokeshi dolls and Metal Art,  and all the merchandise is curated by Russo himself.

This has always been a relaxing place for myself. “About half of my customers are tourists from all over the world, and the other half are those who just stroll in,” said Jack. “I have no clue how the tourists find me, but I’m happy that they do!”

Our Story as Chair-man, is known by our local  customers in Park Slope and Russo has made a small effort to re-name the store Brooklyn Gifts and Souvenirs, but he’s perfectly content keeping the name he’s always used. “It’s like the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, I guess,” he said. “Work Bench doesn’t sell workbench, Door Store doesn’t sell doors, so what’s in a name?”

About us: . In business since 1982.  owner: Jack Russo,