I'm looking for a way to describe a small shop that sells single items to few customers, such as pieces of art, antiques, etc. Is there any umbrella term for this kind of business?

  • 1
    "boutique" thefreedictionary.com/boutique – Max Williams Aug 25 '16 at 10:37
  • 1
    Boutique looks good. Care to submit an answer? – Teyras Aug 25 '16 at 10:50
  • 1
    Curiosity shop? It has the ring of a small slightly run-down little shop – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 25 '16 at 11:03
  • I'll note that there's nothing wrong or non-idiomatic with "small shop" or "little shop" or "tiny shop". (Though "boutique" does carry the implications of up-scale and artsy-fartsy, if that better suits your needs.) – Hot Licks Aug 25 '16 at 12:36
  • I would call that a curio shop. – user193076 Aug 25 '16 at 13:11

I'd suggest boutique

1.a. A small retail shop that specializes in gifts, fashionable clothes, accessories, or food, for example.

1.b. A small shop located within a large department store or supermarket.

2 A small business offering specialized products and services: an investment boutique; a health-care boutique.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 2
    Boutique sounds more like an expensive "specialised" - as your dictionary puts it - shop that would sell to an eccentric or hipster clientele. – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 25 '16 at 11:01

To me, a boutique is a shop that specializes selling women's fashions and accessories.

Instead, a shop that sells a little bit of everything; vintage clothes, ornaments, curiosities etc.
I would call a bric-à-brac

enter image description here

Bric-à-brac or bric-a-brac (origin French), first used in the Victorian era, refers to lesser objets d'art forming collections of curios, such as elaborately decorated teacups and small vases, compositions of feathers or wax flowers under glass domes, decorated eggshells, porcelain figurines, painted miniatures or photographs in stand-up frames, and so on.

|improve this answer|||||
  • I would say that bric-à-brac would refer to a car-boot sale nowadays not so much the sort of bohemian art your quotation describes – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 25 '16 at 11:52
  • 1
    Boutique certainly does sound like a place to get clothes, at least in Czech Republic where I'm from. No idea how it sounds to native English speakers. – Teyras Aug 25 '16 at 12:01
  • In the US "bric-à-brac" is used to refer to the objects on your fireplace mantel, and does not imply a shop of any kind. – Hot Licks Aug 25 '16 at 12:39
  • In Europe the term is well-known to describe ornaments and shops. en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/… – user193059 Aug 25 '16 at 12:44

I think emporium might cover it in a sort of ironic way.

|improve this answer|||||
  • Thank you, but I'll stick with something non-ironic :-) – Teyras Aug 25 '16 at 10:59
  • How about kiosk. – user23614 Aug 25 '16 at 11:35
  • 1
    In the US "emporium" is typically used for a "junk shop". – Hot Licks Aug 25 '16 at 12:38
  • @HotLicks Really! In the UK it would seem to describe a well-to-do shop that specialises in art and such things. – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 25 '16 at 16:25
  • @BladorthinTheGrey - The use of "emporium" in the sense of "junk shop" may have started when a lot of "general stores" (combo hardware/dry goods/furniture/groceries) in small towns adopted that title to sound fancy. Then, over the years, more specialized (and cleaner!) stores picked away at their trade, leaving them with only "resale" business. After that, the term spread to newer shops in a sense of irony. – Hot Licks Aug 25 '16 at 22:29

Curio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curio otherwise known as objet d'art, knick-knacks or Bric-à-brac https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bric-à-brac . Depending on ones point of view about such things a junk-shop might also be another/better word.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    I agree with the use all of these words to describe that which is on sale inside the shop, bud none of these seem to describe the actual shop other than junk shop which doesn't seem to capture the word for which the questioner has asked. – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 25 '16 at 16:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.