Tiny Treasures, Infinite Pleasures

Ona is a third act for Cohn, who spent decades as a lingerie designer and dressmaker. Years ago, she helped out an acquaintance who owned a gift boutique, and found she had a knack for it: she quintupled the store’s sales over the holiday season alone. “People have told me I have a good eye,” says Cohn, who launched in 2016. On a late October weekday, the shop bustles with activity from the moment it opens. Cohn is ready. Visitors who arrive today might not return until the new year, so she has savvily stocked the place with an array of Christmas items. Cohn knows that shoppers can easily buy almost anything online, so when they come in, they’re often also seeking something more than a transaction. She delivers: the space is infused with joy and whimsy. And Cohn is a friendly face and a warm conversationalist. “I’m someone who remembers people’s names and a detail or two about a conversation we’ve had,” she says. “Sometimes people ask if they can hug me before they leave the store.” Good luck getting that from Amazon. If she’s proven that she can create a store that people love to be in, buy from, and return to, she admits that her business skills are still a work in progress. “I take the receipts at the end of the day and check everything against what I sold, but my inventory? That’s in my head. A business person would probably have a fit,” she jokes. “But my shop is small, and for me, it works.” Even in her mid-70s, she brushes off any suggestion of retirement. Her husband, who is 81, continues to practice law, and she still buzzes with energy. “People often come in here and start smiling,” she says. “They’ll say, ‘Ona, you’re never in a bad mood.’ I say, ‘Could you really be surrounded by all this and be in a bad mood?’”