By Alex Weisler
Local artist and author Suzanne Mancuso is working to bring a bit of whimsy and wonder to Yorktown Heights.
A longtime member of the Yorktown Museum and the mastermind of “many of their doll displays over the years,” Mancuso is now striking out on her own — opening the Enchanted Doll Forest in the site formerly occupied by the Toddville Farm Antique Center.
“They were a doll house shop a few years ago,” she said. “I am taking over the family business.”
Mancuso’s paternal grandmother previously ran a doll hospital decades ago in Mahopac.
“She basically taught me all of her tricks, but I had formal education and went to floral design school and for doll repair, and I kind of incorporate the two of those into this shop,” she said. “Sometimes you have to mix the two of them together.”
The store will be located at 2201 Crompond Road in Cortlandt Manor, and is set to open on March 10.
Mancuso said she’s excited to explore her passion.
“I just like making people happy,” she said.
Mancuso’s repertoire includes everything from doll- and bear-related knickknacks to flower arrangements and custom dollhouses.
The Enchanted Doll Forest also plans to host a full “doll and teddy bear hospital” that can help to restore damaged toys and collectibles, she said.
That’s an important process to ensure that old toys don’t end up tossed aside, she said.
“We will be recycling broken dolls, bears in any condition, fabric, scraps, beads, ribbons, buttons,” she said. “Don’t let them end up in landfills — think green.”
Mancuso also repairs family heirlooms — like a wedding doll whose dress was damaged (she sewed a new one).
“That sentimental value, you can’t really replace that. It’s really sad when someone calls you crying and says I just smashed my favorite doll,” she said. “Most of the ideas I’ve repaired over the year it’s for sentimental purposes. I can usually find a way to make it more aesthetically pleasing.”
And in an effort to reach out to the larger community, Mancuso said she hopes to hold free doll-making classes.
But the real focus of the “retail doll and bear shop” will be new and modern dolls, antiques, art objects and “oddities,” Mancuso said.
She said she’s enjoyed the process of setting up her new space.