Tell Me Something Good: Crazy Chair Lady gift shop offers local charm, unique finds

Tell Me Something Good

Correction Monday 10-4-2021, 8:55 a.m.–the closing time of the store has been corrected to 5 p.m. Friday.


EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — One of Central New York’s newest gift shops has a checkered past.  But that’s the main selling point.  The Crazy Chair Lady specializes in home décor items featuring bold black and white checks.

Joan Spadaro started her business from her home after she was laid off from a corporate marketing job.  At first, she repainted tables and chairs she bought from flea markets and garage sales.  Her son came up with a name people could remember.  

“He had to help me put them in the garage and he said ‘Mom, you’re like the crazy chair lady!  And I loved it, and it stuck…  He thinks he should get royalties,” she said with a chuckle.  “But he only got dinner!”

Gift shops like this are always looking for a theme for their next sale.  “Old Home Week” might be a good one for the Crazy Chair Lady.  It turns out, the shop is located in the house that Joan grew up in.  Her family sold it to Cunningham Chiropractic in 2006.

“This is the house that my dad built and I grew up in.  My family, all eight children, were raised here.  And when I saw the ‘For Lease’ sign, I knew that I had to come back.”

Joan does most of her painting at home, and she admits, it’s a lot of work for one person.  She’s often up painting well past midnight.  And the opportunity to come home to this building could have been timed a little better.  “I signed the lease two weeks before COVID hit, and I could not open immediately,” she says. 

But that delay just gave her a better chance to paint the building and prepare for the public.  Since she opened in June of last year, Joan says she’s gotten great support from her family and friends, and there’s inspiration everywhere she looks around the old neighborhood.  

The longtime village market is also where she met her husband, Jamie. They are still together after 34 years of marriage, and Joan says Jamie has been a lot of help, even taking over at the cash register when she’s called away.  

“There’s lots of memories.  I mean, I’m constantly looking out the window, just thinking of my childhood.  It’s just really cool. Really cool,” she said.

The Crazy Chair Lady’s shop is located at 210 Old Bridge Street in East Syracuse, near Cunningham Chiropractic and Big 4 Tire.  It’s open Thursdays and Fridays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. during the fall.  Joan plans to add additional hours as the holidays approach. 

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