Outside of 63 Madison, Ave. a crowd waited impatiently for the doors of The Snooki Shop to open. “They all came flocking in the second we opened them,” said Michelle, one of the sales associates. Despite the initial controversy surrounding the opening of the shop in downtown Madison, the grand opening, which took place on Nov. 25, was bubbling with excitement.
COURTESY OF KASSEL FRANCO GARIBAY
“That two-hour drive was worth it,” said one of the young customers, holding a denim baseball cap emblazoned with the name of the store. Only 20 minutes after the opening, a line of 18 people were enjoying the complimentary hat-shaped cookies and waiting for their turn to pay for their items. Snooki herself, Nicole Polizzi LaValle, was not in the store at the moment.
LaValle gained popularity for appearing in the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” which aired from 2009 to 2012. Since then, she has starred in two different spin-offs of the reality show, guest hosted “WWE Raw” and competed at WrestleMania XXVII. Additionally, she has published three novels and run an online business, the Snooki Shop, for almost 12 years.
The opening of the shop was announced in September of this year by placing a ‘Coming Soon’ poster on the window of the locale. On Sept. 6, someone posted a picture of the storefront on the Madison Area Parents and Community Facebook Group, with the caption “Oooooh ... I can see many Meatballs walking around town 😂😎🤔😮😞🤗 Get Crazy, Get Wild ... Let's Party, Get Loud #fistpump #yeaaabuddy.” Although the majority of the comments were positive and wished good luck for the opening, some group members expressed concern about LaValle’s reputation and how the store would fit in in Madison.
LaValle herself posted on the Facebook group on Sept. 12. “I am a stay at home mom a majority of the time and [have] always wanted to have a small business in town or a town near me,” LaValle wrote. “I am not opening up a bar. Or a club. This is a clothing boutique owned by a mother of [two] trying to make her small business dream come to life.” In this thread, the comments were overwhelmingly more positive, with group members apologizing for the initial response and welcoming LaValle and her business to town. “Welcome to Madison––which honestly could be [its] own reality show!!” wrote Deborah Farrar Starker, a Madison resident.
LaValle and her husband Jionni LaValle, who also starred in Jersey Shore, have lived in Florham Park for the past three years, making Madison an ideal location for the boutique.
The Snooki Shop is an opportunity to “shop [LaValle’s] closet,” and the 1,000 square feet locale is lined in faux-fur coats, sweaters, sequin dresses and more. “The store has a great boutique feel, and the prices are not bad,” said Lulu, a fashion enthusiast from Westfield, N.J. before making her way out with a couple of shopping bags. The store also sells Joey Canasta’s makeup brand, specifically his makeup palette “Denim Collection” and a selection of lipsticks. Canasta is LaValle’s personal makeup artist and best friend, as well as her co-host in the podcast “It’s Happening with Snooki & Joey.” The selection of lipsticks were “created exclusively for the shop,” Canasta, who was present at the grand opening, said. “They are Nicole’s signature colors. And the palette has makeup that you can use with diamonds or denim and a t-shirt. It’s perfect.”
“It’s a good store for Madison,” said Suzanne Rocco, a longtime Madison resident and
Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Student Engagement. “It was a good selection and the prices were surprisingly nice.”
The Snooki Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sundays.