Carmela’s Custom Creations, located at 1129 Rhinelander Avenue at the corner of Williamsbridge Road, is the Bronx’ newest gift shop.
The store features uniquely hand-crafted jewelry made of the finest gemstones, crystals and beads for all occasions, health and beauty products and one-of-a-kind accessories.
The shopkeeper, Carmela Tarantino, opened her doors on May 17, fulfilling a dream she’s had for years.
“I was walking down the street, and I saw a “For Rent” sign in the window, and I decided to finally give it a try and see if it would work out,” Tarantino said. “I was finally blessed with the opportunity and drive to make this happen.”
Tarantino has always dreamed of opening a neighborhood boutique in Morris Park because she saw a need.
“This community doesn’t have any kind of gift shop, and I wanted to stay in the neighborhood and contribute to the area,” the businesswoman said.
She formed a limited liability corporation and started selling her unique line of products at craft shows, streets fairs and on the Internet. Then, she found the perfect location for a shop.
“The rent was perfect,” she said. “It was a sign; I felt the store was waiting for me.”
A resident of MP since 1989, Tarantino grew up in Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy. She’s been working with crafts for the past eight years and three years ago decided to turn her passion into a business.
For the body, the store offers natural soaps, lotions and foot and body scrubs in delicious scents. There’s also an array of hand-poured soy candles and creative scented gel candles, and each product is carefully created with detail to the delight of her customers.
“Everything’s made in small batches, so it jumps off the shelves,” Tarantino said.
Her passion for natural products and quality before quantity she credits to her heritage, growing up the child of Italian immigrants who always grew their own vegetables and made things by hand.
“We learned to make things ourselves,” she said of her and family members. “I grew up in that mentality that natural is the best way.”
She uses high quality ingredients and materials that she feels are best for the consumer and the planet. For example, the store uses soy wax because its better for environment and your lungs, she says.
Beyond a business relationship, Tarantino considers her customers like an extended family who she provides a greatly appreciated amenity.
She explains, “’It’s about time something like this came to the neighborhood,’ my customers say.”
The establishment is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, call 718-450-3301 or email Carmella at email@example.com. The store also has a website at www.carmelascustomcreations.com.