“I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I could go for a second helping!”—Amy Sedaris
“Entrepreneurs will learn a thing or two about translating a dream into thoughtful business growth, and everyone will laugh, cry, and nod along with a woman who has chosen to live an extraordinary life amidst many piles of dishes.” —Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, founder of Shake Shack, author of the New York Times bestseller Setting the Table
In this charming graphic memoir, the founder of an iconic housewares shop recounts the ups and downs—and ups again—of starting a family business, starting a family, and staying true to one’s path while trying to make it in the Big City.
Whether it’s a set of vintage plates from a 1920s steamship, a mug with a New Yorker cartoon on it, a tin of sprinkles designed by Amy Sedaris, or a juice glass from a Jazz Age hotel, Fishs Eddy products are distinctly recognizable. A New York institution, Fishs Eddy also remains a family business whose owners endured the same challenges as many family businesses—and lived to write about it in this tale filled with humorous characterizations of opinionated relatives, nosy neighbors, quirky employees, and above all the eccentric foibles of the founders themselves. Readers come to know author Julie Gaines and her husband, with whom she founded the store, and because this is a family business, the illustrations are all in the family, too: their son Ben Lenovitz’s drawings bring Fishs Eddy to life with a witty style a la Roz Chast and Ben Katchor.
Over the years the store has collaborated with artists and celebrities such as Charley Harper and Todd Oldham, Alan Cumming, and many others to produce original designs that are now found in thousands of stores throughout the country, and Fishs Eddy has garnered a huge amount of media coverage. A great gift for anyone who has ever dreamed of opening a little business—or anyone with any kind of dream—Minding the Store offers wisdom, inspiration, and an exceedingly entertaining story.
About the Author
Julie Gaines grew up in Staten Island and studied painting at Syracuse University. After college she moved to Manhattan, where she met Dave Lenovitz and together they opened Fishs Eddy. Thirty years later Julie's favorite pastimes are still designing and selling dishes.
Ben Lenovitz was born and raised in New York City. He studied painting at SUNY New Paltz and now lives in New York, where he has built his business called Art on Block. He is the son of Fishs Eddy founders Julie Gaines and Dave Lenovitz.
One of Nylon's Best Illustrated Books of 2018
“Hilarious . . . Gaines’ writing is straightforward and witty, and it makes sense that the design-forward store would have a design-forward book (and even more sense that the family store would have a family book). Both the illustrations and the text deserve a good poring over; the more you look, the more there is to find. It’s a learn-by-example experience; while Gaines doesn’t have all the answers of how to run a small business, she does have the answers that worked for her.”
—Bedford + Bowery
“I found Minding the Store to be a refreshing look into the life of a small business. Gaines tells her story honestly, not flinching away from the mistakes she and her husband Dave Lenovitz made along the way, but not losing her sense of humor either . . . [Ben] Lenovitz’s illustrations share that warmth and candor.”
—Women Write About Comics
“The blend of Gaines’s candor and Lenovitz’s illustrations gives the book a distinctive personality, not unlike the aesthetic cultivated by Fishs Eddy’s frequent collaborations with designers.”
—Curbed New York
“Illustrated in a charming style by her son, artist Ben Lenowitz, the book is as personality-filled, humorous, and distinctively New York as Fishs Eddy itself.”
“An engaging narrative on the ups and downs of following dreams.”
“Lenovitz, an artist and Gaines' son, pairs perfectly naive illustrations with Gaines' adult storybook-style writing . . . Without pretense, mother and son chart the ups and downs of owning a small business, and it all adds up to a lot of love for family and ‘doing dishes.’”
“Revealing . . . compelling in its very personal details.”
—Florence Fabricant for The New York Times
“An anti-business business book: it is a radical endeavor. Yet Minding the Store: A Big Story about a Small Business is an antidote for anyone who wants insights from successful people but is bored by jargon and unable to face another turgid tome from a bleach-toothed billionaire. The result is a delightful book . . . moving, funny and interesting.”
—The Financial Times
“It’s a tale that begins with two people falling in love and trying to figure out what they can do together to make their way in the world . . . The faithful will find this very illuminating.”
“A delightful, utterly hilarious (and also darn inspiring) treat to read that will appeal to anyone who’s wondering if they should take that first little step toward building something truly unique for themselves. You need to read this book; it will seriously make your day.”
—Ree Drummond, author of the New York Times bestseller The Pioneer Woman Cooks
“This is not a book about dishes, though I like dishes very much. It is an astute, very funny, meaningful memoir about life. The mistakes, the luck, the love, the madness, the searching—and ultimately, amazingly, incredibly—the finding.”
“I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I could go for a second helping!”
—Amy Sedaris, actress and author of the New York Times bestseller I Like You
“Anyone who has been to Fishs Eddy knows it’s a magical place and must have an incredible story. Here now is that story come to life. As you might expect the book is as eccentric, heartfelt, weird, and wonderful as a wander round the store—and as full of wondrous treasures.”
—Alan Cumming, actor and author of the New York Times bestseller Not My Father’s Son
“Julie Gaines’s Minding the Store is just as charming as the lovably idiosyncratic store itself. Filled with humor, humility, poignancy, and love, it tells the story of how she and her husband took an early gamble on an unlikely retail neighborhood and willed their personal vision into existence with persistence and grit, becoming an indelible part of the fabric of New York City along the way. Entrepreneurs will learn a thing or two about translating a dream into thoughtful business growth, and everyone will laugh, cry, and nod along with a woman who has chosen to live an extraordinary life amidst many piles of dishes.”
—Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, founder of Shake Shack, author of the New York Times bestseller Setting the Table
“I love this clever and touching story of how Fishs Eddy became a beloved New York institution! It’s made even more poignant by Ben Lenovitz's lovely illustrations. A must-read for anyone not interested in taking the normal path!”
—Todd Oldham, designer and author of Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life
“Never saccharine, often wry, always charming, this book seduces its readers and infects them with the desire for whimsical dishes and intimate connection.”
—NY Journal of Books