Need Umbrellas and Candy? Look No Further Than Ame Ame

IMG_3012Stephen Rex Brown The owner of Ame Ame, Teresa Soroka.

A new store on Ninth Street takes the term “specialty shop” to the next level.

Ame Ame caters to the stylish New Yorker caught in the rain who also happens to have a sweet tooth. The name for the store comes from the Japanese word “ame,” which means — that’s right — both “rain” and “candy.”

“I want to put an end to those disposable, cheap, ugly black umbrellas,” said owner Teresa Soroka, 30, who opened the store on Nov. 16. “They’re bad for the environment, and in a fashionable city they’re a disgrace.”

So, why all the candy? “What’s better on a rainy day than a bag of candy?” Ms. Soroka explained. “I wanted a colorful, cheerful experience when shopping.”

The store’s umbrellas can be as expensive as $85, but discounts are offered when it’s raining; an incentive that Ms. Soroka hopes will deter people from buying another cheap umbrella on the street that quickly ends up in the trash.

IMG_3014Stephen Rex Brown Rain gear in Ame Ame.

“It’s a new experience for people — to decide they’re going to invest in an umbrella,” she said.

The bumbershoot expert also gave a few pro-tips to The Local for shoppers seeking a (mobile) shelter from the storm: check the umbrella’s resistance to wind, its fabric weave, thread count, number of ribs, and the stitching at the brim.

Besides the umbrellas and assortment of gummies, licorices and chocolates, the store also sells raincoats and rain boots. Soon Ame Ame will sell covers that allow the touchscreens on iPads and iPods to work in the rain.

Ms. Soroka said that so far, her customers tend to be in the market for either umbrellas or candy — not both at once. “People tend to come in for one and then come back for the other,” she said.

Ame Ame, 318 East Ninth Street (between Second and First Avenues); (646) 867-2342

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 11, 2011

A previous version of this post misidentified one of the meanings of “ame” as “umbrella.” The word actually means both “candy” and “rain.”