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Local Soap Shop Offers Last Minute Holiday Gifts

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Luisa New York soap shop in Thornwood offers many different types of soaps and body products.  Yet during the holiday season, owner Gili Zilea finds it tough to keep them all on the shelf.

“It gets crazy around the holidays because we’ll put holiday themed soaps on the shelf and then within a few hours they’re gone and we need to replenish them,” Zilea.

However, Zilea is able to restock rather conveniently.  On top of being the owner and operator of Luisa, Zilea makes all of her soap and body products in the back of her store in the Rosehill Shopping Center by hand.  Previously, the Briarcliff Manor resident owned a shop in Pleasantville on Memorial Plaza and moved to Thornwood in October of 2010 when the space became too small for her production.  Zilea said she is especially swamped during the holiday season and must prepare months ahead of time for the rush.

“I realized over the years of doing this that it gets crazy during the holiday season so I actually start preparing in August for this,” Zilea said.

The shop specializes in uniquely shaped and decorated soaps.  For the holiday season, shelves are filled with scented soap bars that resemble ginger bread men, Christmas trees, candy canes, menorahs and dreidels.  There are even bars for young children that resemble crayons or lego blocks.  Zilea said the holiday bars along with their traditional oatmeal-based body lotions are their most popular items during December.

Fran Coleman of Thornwood was doing some last minute shopping on Friday and found multiple gifts in Luisa.

“I love scented soaps and these are perfect stocking stuffers,” Coleman said.  “I also hate going to the mall because it’s a zoo during this time of year so it’s nice to stay local.”

With another holiday season coming to an end, Zilea said she’ll evaluate how to manage her time in order to accommodate this time of year.

“I’m sure I’ll still be preparing in the late summer and who knows, maybe I’ll even have to start even earlier next year,” Zilea said.

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