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some history

original williamsburg store c 1997, red building with green awning, two women standing at fence

original williamsburg store located on bedford avenue
carrie behind fence + friend joan c1997


beacon’s closet owner and founder, carrie peterson, moved from tucson to williamsburg in 1996.  

carrie arrived on the heels of her brother and his group of friends who had been living on metropolitan avenue, in a warehouse turned apt. that was wedged between a gas station (now a bank) and the golden dragon chinese restaurant. carrie took up digs with him until finding a place to settle, ultimately in a storage room in the back of the original location of beacon's at 110 bedford.

after a brief period of temping and working uninspiring office jobs in the city, carrie ultimately maxed out her credit cards and rented the original store location on bedford + n. 11th, which had remained vacant for some time before the store moved in. though difficult to imagine now, in 1997 this location was considered by some as a bit far down the stretch, and a questionable spot for foot traffic.

there were a few local businesses and hang out spots at the time:  teddy's, sweetwater, mugs, the charleston, the right bank, rubulad, up and coming mighty robot (now secret project robot). for shopping, there was max and roebling, earwax, ugly luggage, sid's junk shop, main drag music, and of course, domsey's. popular restaurants were oznot's dish, the s & b, veracruz, kasia's, kellogg's, and lest we forget, the L cafe.

as for beacon's, initial inventory came from her own personal stock, closets of friends, and thrifting.

carrie originally lived in the back of the store while getting it off the ground. she lived in a room off the then garage, which later became a mini record shop, within the original location. dear friends from what would later be mighty robot and then secret project robot, were instrumental in helping cut the wood for counters, build the dressing rooms and assist with lighting.
shortly thereafter, carrie's friend sam fogarino moved to brooklyn and became the store's second employee, and subsequent partner, for a brief period. from his own well curated record collection, he developed a modest record store in the same room where carrie had lived. beacon's continued to carry music in williamsburg for about 10 years.

sam's most appreciated contribution to the store, however, was introducing carrie to his then wife, cindy wheeler, then front woman of the band pee shy, and former L cafe manager.  cindy, who took the reigns as a store manager in 1999, came on board as a partner in 2001. sam ultimately left for a full time gig as drummer for interpol, and cindy held strong and built her partnership with a share in 3 out of the 4 beacon's locations.

as williamsburg grew exponentially, so did the shop, the inventory, and those dang rents.

eventually this store branched off into 4 separate locations, the original beast holding down the fort nearby, at 74 guernsey in greenpoint, and other locations in park slope, manhattan, and bushwick.

both beth moon-burgess and lily ciccarone were managers for many years at the second williamsburg location, and ultimately earned partnerships with carrie and cindy in the manhattan and bushwick stores respectively. 

carrie, female 16 years old wearing white jumpsuit and holding a paintbrush, painting the bedroom black c1987
carrie, 16 years old, painting the bedroom black c1987

beacon's storefront williamsburg 1997, red building with green awning, two people walking away from the camera

williamsburg 1997

the first beacon's photo montage, the exterior red building with green awning, interior, blue walls with lots of clothes on racks, a shepard mix dog in a red chair

the first beacon's

candles and records and blue walls inside beacon's closet

carrie our fearless leader with mannequin on red floor

interior of original location, pink wall, woman behind counter, and male shopper near front door

interior of original location

sam wearing a cardigan standing in front of his curated record section


happy shoppers c1998, two women smiling among racks

happy shoppers c1998

molly s. at the pink and black buying counter, bedford location

molly s. at the buying counter, bedford location

carrie, jay & thermos, the owner, her husband, and their dog, who was a fixture there in the late 1990s

carrie, jay & thermos
the first park slope location, black awning with babyhead wearing eyeglasses logo

the first park slope location

carrie, a woman with long dark hair, at first park slope location, tending to merchandise

carrie at first park slope location

co-owners of park slope's first location. two women standing with arms out among round racks of clothing

co-owners of park slope, first location

park slope co-owners c and a sitting on red floor assembling racks + thermos and davies, pups that make it work

park slope co-owner + thermos / 
pups that make it work

friends of beacon's: vashti w., wolfie & etain f. / marrisa j., cindy (co-owner), micki p.

friends of beacon's: vashti w., wolfie & etain f. / marrisa j., cindy (co-owner), micki p.

second williamsburg location, 88 n.11th St. carrie holding her newborn son
second williamsburg location, 88 n.11th St.

n.11th st warehouse interiors & employees at buying counters

n.11th st interiors & faces

n.11th c2012 6 women wearing adorable uniform style hats at a counter

n.11th c2012

cindy-last day at n11th, woman looking stressed

cindy-last day at n11th

beth and baby sammy standing in empty and emerging manhattan location

beth and baby sammy manhattan location

bushwick location coming together, cindy painting a logo sign, and stacks of bags of clothing on a grey floor

bushwick location coming together 

our fearless leaders cindy and carrie <3 at a company boat party

cindy and carrie <3

thermos 1995-2008, our beloved friend,  original store concierge, and goodwill ambassador and an early beacon's closet promotional postcard

thermos 1995-2008, our beloved friend,

original store concierge, and goodwill ambassador