More than 600 people turned out on Tuesday, July 21, for a party thrown by illustrated book publisher Rizzoli to celebrate its new flagship bookstore at 1133 Broadway in New York City. The store, in New York’s NoMad neighborhood, is set to open July 28. Marco Ausenda, president and CEO of Rizzoli NY, said that this is the third flagship store the company has opened in New York in the past 51 years. The latest move was prompted by the expiration of Rizzoli’s lease on its 57th Street store last year. Ausenda noted that the company looked at about 100 locations in the city before settling on a spot in the historic St. James Building, between 25th Street and 26th Street, just a few blocks north of Eataly, where Rizzoli operates the cookbook department.
Laura Donnini, CEO of Milan-based RCS Libri (the parent company of U.S. subsidiary Rizzoli International Publications), said that having stores in New York and Milan “helps reinforce the Rizzoli brand,” adding, “It is part of the Rizzoli experience.” She noted that readers benefit from being able to browse through the pages of titles from Rizzoli and other illustrated book publishers in physical stores.
The new Rizzoli location will stock about 20,000 titles, with a focus on illustrated books in a range of categories, though it will also carry fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. The day-to-day operations of the bookstore will be overseen by Chad Bunning, who heads a staff of 15. The new space is 5,000 sq. ft. and will feature several fixtures from the 57th Street store, including chandeliers and bookcases. “We are not a chain—we wanted to make the store unique,” Donnini said, pointing to the wallpaper that runs as a frieze above the bookcases in all three grand rooms of the store.
Donnini said RCS is making a “big investment” in the store, although she declined to disclose the amount. She noted that since the company revamped its Milan store in November, sales there have increased 30%, and she is hoping for a nice boost at the New York location as well. In its last year in operation on 57th Street, the Rizzoli store had sales of about $3.5 million and broke even. And while Donnini doesn’t want to lose money at the New York location, there is a sense of pride in opening the new flagship. When the Rizzoli sign was placed on the facade of the new store, Donnini said, it meant that “Rizzoli is back, and that is a great feeling.”