I recently sat down with Claude Noelle, the co-founder of West Village Pottery and Antique Store – Le Fanion. Claude Noelle describes her journey from the South of France, studying political science, her 1980’s rites of passage trip across the US in a world before the internet and social media, that led her to living, working, and eventually running her own small retail business in the West Village. Claude Noelle explains the backstory to Le Fanion and opening in 34 years ago with her business partner William to import pottery, art and antiques from the Provence Region of France.
She also explains the changing fabric of the neighborhood, a microcosm of New York and the world, in the face of globalization and gentrification.
Claude Noelle explains the challenges and resilience in the time of Covid, the importance of a supportive landlord, loyal customers and doing business over Facetime and Instagram.
We discuss the escalating rents that hit the neighborhood in recent years, her hopes for the future of retail of the West Village, need for collaboration with landlords to attract retailers of interest and character and retain the attraction of the neighborhood.
And the growing appreciation for authentic and artisanal products by a new generation of consumers.
Finally we talk about ideas for building better community between local retailers.