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Brass Owl Owner Finalist for National Retail Advocacy Award

Nicole Panettieri (Photo courtesy of the Brass Owl)

Sept. 12, 2018 By Tara Law

The owner of an Astoria clothing boutique received national recognition last week for her work championing small businesses.

Nicole Panettieri, owner of the Brass Owl at 36-19 Ditmars Blvd., was one of five finalists for the “America’s Retail Champion” award.

Trade organization National Retail Foundation hands out the award each year to small business owners who are community leaders and act as advocates for the retail industry.

Panettieri has owned the Brass Owl boutique, which sells women’s clothing, accessories and gifts, for the past four years. She also uses her shop as a platform to raise money for charitable causes and to host supply drives. 

Panetteri has dedicated herself to community projects such as Shop Small Astoria, the Ditmars Merchant Association and women’s empowerment project Ladies First Astoria. She has worked as a retail advocate for the last few years, and has met with lawmakers such as Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Joseph Crowley.

Panettieri and the other finalists were honored for their work at the Federation’s Retail Advocates Summit this week. The Champion of the Year grand prize went to the owner of a spa in Florida.

The Federation’s President and CEO, Matthew Shay, praised Panettieri and the other finalists in a statement.

“Small business owners are the backbone of America’s economy,” Shay said. “NRF is proud to recognize these hardworking individuals in Washington this week as the industry’s most engaged retail advocates.”

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Brass Owl supports local artists and in order to make a profit for artist and shop owner they have to set it at a certain price point.


I am SO excited and proud of this shop. The Brass Owl has brought so much to our community so I believe that this is a well deserved award. It’s easy to give certain labels to new businesses but I can say, I see Nicole browsing for the very best products, attends every event where local makers showcase their products AND stocks her shop with them. She has made it a point of getting to know the community and curate her shop according to what we like and love… Congrats to Nicole and The Brass Owl!

Anastasia Cunningham

How incredibly rude, mitigatinga and diminishing to boil down someone’s major and incredible accomplishment to “her shop is overpriced.” Nicole carefully selects, curates and displays every single product in her store. She spends days choosing items that she’s researched from companies that she genuinely loves and believes in. The items she stocks are well made, the clothes wear beautifully, and the quality is superb. She stands by her products and in the rare case that something is defective or faulty, she does whatever she can to help each customer.

Additionally, Nicole works with local artisans and makers to stock their handmade items, which, if you’ve ever created anything with your hands, you know takes blood, sweat, tears, and deserves to be priced as so.

She is so much more than her shop and her shop is so much more than overpriced. Congratulations Nicole, our community is lucky to have you.


Calm down cupcake. No one died. Someone said her shop was overpriced. Go breathe into a paper bag now…

Old Lady

See if she is still in business in 5 years.If Elizabeth Warren gets elected she will take her business away and say the government built that.


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