SoHo shop sells great gifts for men and women

February 7, 2012 2:43:51 PM PST
If you are starting to shop for Valentine's Day you might find something for your sweetheart, male or female, at a shop in SoHo.

The store sells items that have Italian roots, dating back to the 13th century.

"Santa Maria Novella was founded in the 13th century in 1211 as an infirmary in a Florentine Dominican Monastery," said Jon Bresler, Santa Maria Novella.

The monks eventually opened their infirmary as a pharmacy to the public.

"It was way beyond a pharmacy, it was lotions, it was balms, it was cremes, and it was fragrances," Bresler said.

Many of those very same Florentine products are still being sold to the public 400 years later.

Jon Bresler opened the Santa Maria Novella shop in SoHo 10 years ago.

He stocks some of the original items like burning paper and potpourri, and there's toothpaste and a tincture for the gums.

There are edible products, teas and olive oils, soaps and lotions, and now even a line for pets.

From the beginning there have been products for men.

"Shaving foam is about 30 years old, that's the newest product in the men's line," Bresler said.

Among the biggest sellers are 36 colognes, most of which are unisex, like the signature fragrance first made in 1598.

Another popular scent is gardenia from 1820.

"When a man gave a woman gardenias or gardenia fragrance, it meant that he was falling in love with her," Bresler said.

It's made from ancient ingredients and recipe that is relevant even now and it's the stories that go with them that add depth to the product.

"I refer to Santa Maria Novella as an original lifestyle store that is really just coming into vogue as lifestyles are so important now," Bresler said.

For more information online please visit: WWW.LAFCO.COM

Or stop by the shop at:
285 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10012
(212) 925-0001

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