Liverpool In a way, Sohyla Ziaie’s life has come full circle.
Liverpool’s newest business owner grew up in Iran, and has named her shop in the village after her own hometown. Kashani Home Décor and Gifts, located on Oswego Street, across from Johnson Park, opened in June. Previously an insurance office, the building underwent six months of refurbishing to become an elegant retail space that’s as beautiful to view as the glassware and furnishings you can purchase there. With an array of gift items and home décor pieces on display, the graceful shop is a fitting tribute to Kashan, a small desert city, in the northwest part of Iran.
Kashani is a family effort. When Ziaie was looking for a new career, her sisters suggested she open a gift shop. She had worked at a large department store for many years, so this was a natural fit. First came the building purchase: Ziaie and her husband liked the location of the white house because it overlooked the park. The building in hand, Ziaie and her family restored original wood trim, put down new flooring, hung chandeliers, and trimmed a second basement room in yards of beautiful fabric, to showcase pieces of antique furniture. She and her sisters went about selecting unique items for the shop to carry. Her children help, too. One, 16, helps with the business’s online needs and graphic design. The older son, age 20, does the lifting and moving required to set up the shop’s displays.
Working hard for a goal is how Ziaie has approached life. Despite her accent, she has been in the United States for about 30 years, having come over as a teen during the Iranian Revolution during which the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power.
“It was so different [after the Revolution],” she said of the change in her home country. “All of a sudden, the universities were closed, women had to be fully covered [with the chador, a wrap that covers the body and head], and couldn’t talk to men in the streets. I had to leave.”