Tiger Stores in Milan, the city’s answer to Duane Reade? Since expatriating myself to Italy from New York, it saddens me see that one particular type of store is lacking here: those one-stop shops of sorts à la Duane Reade, where you can pop inside after a long day in the office to grab a multitude of essentials all under the same roof. Especially on those days when the need for certain items culminates to a level so grand that you won’t succeed in tackling any tasks at hand until you have acquired all of the items. On any given recent day, my shopping list might consist of any or all of the following:
- Advil, or its Italian equivalent.
- Oven mitts – I’ve been in dire need so I can ditch the not-very-protective dishwashing gloves when I retrieve my Madeleine tray from the oven.
- Scotch tape to wrap my friend’s birthday gift.
- A birthday card for that friend
- A new notebook
- A wickedly mean broom
- A bag of pretzels (a necessary salty snack for my marathon training)
- Windex (or its Italian equivalent) to remove water splash stains from the bathroom mirror.
- An umbrella to replace the one that I left God only knows where.
- Toothpaste, since it’s damn near impossible to squeeze one more drop out of that tub.
- A document box to keep all of my receipts and paper work to ensure that my next commercialista meeting flows as smoothly as possible.
And since my short-term memory has fallen to the wayside, I’m more likely than not missing at least seven other essentials that I didn’t jot down in that precise moment when I had realized that I needed them.
Now, while Tiger Stores doesn’t exactly have all of these items under one roof, it’s a somewhat comparable alternative to the aforementioned Duane-Reade-like, one-stop shops. Now, I didn’t discover Tiger myself, my friend Andrew tipped me off about a new Campo de’Fiori Tiger opening when I visited him in Rome this past June. I didn’t get to drop in but when I returned to Milan, my eyes happened upon a Tiger store on the corner Via Meravigli as I was biking down Via Dante. However, the caveat: as a “bike sharer,” the bike didn’t belong to me so I therefore didn’t want to leave it outside and risk getting slapped with a hefty fine should the bike get lifted.
Then a few days ago, lo and behold, I noticed a newly opened outpost of this distinct concept store where Foro Bonoparte and Piazzale Cadorna meet, just across the street from the Cadorna Station. With no bike in tow, I eagerly embarked on my first ever Tiger adventure. Let me just say this: Suckers, hoarders and pack rats beware. You can do some serious damage here. You’ll find a range of home products and office supplies, among many other items inside. Tiger sells (almost) everything from jumbo size Twix bars to colorful toilet brushes to aprons and other cooking supplies to notebooks and pens to a plethora of nifty creative objects, miscellany, gadgets and devices, the majority of which are their own branded products. Umbrellas galore await you along with a number of smart phone cases in a myriad of shades and designs; storage basket-like boxes; hand-soap dispensers that match the aforementioned toilet brushes; and Dead Sea salt shampoo, conditioner, lotions and body scrubs, among many, many other items. They sell tweezers for 1 euro but eyebrows that grow with the speed, tenacity and force of mine–yes, I had a wretched unibrow as a child–require Tweezerman. The also sell 1 euro nail polishes, which, as much as I love nail polish, aren’t for me because, with all due respect to Tiger, Chanel nail polish always chips on my ever-active nails (this is mostly my fault and not a dig on Chanel’s quality) so I can’t even imagine how Tiger’s brand will hold up after 24 hours.
The best (or worst?) part: the simultaneous blessing and curse of the perilously reasonable prices. Did I really need another notebook? Nope. But I believe that one can never have too many notebooks and the Tiger brand with its adorable cover art only costs 2 euro…how do I pass that up? The lay of the Tiger-Store land recalls Stew Leonard’s in that you have to make your rounds around the entire store before leaving, which is another simultaneous good and bad thing given those prices. On the one hand, you might see the toothbrush holder and grab it thinking, Grazie a Dio! I’ve been meaning to get one of these so I can put the days of traveling with a paper towel wrapped toothbrush behind mel Have you been intending to pick up a set of three pound dumbbells and an ab-roller ball for your forthcoming regular at-home exercise sessions? Tiger sells those, too. Seeing them could prompt you to make the purchase if you’re one of those who has been meaning to start working out at home, but your own personal equipment shortage has hindered you from getting started. Or passing through the arts and crafts area may prompt you to buy a crochet hook and yarn so you can check “learn how to crochet” off your bucket list. Now that you’ve just snagged everything you need, you’re golden because you just know there’s a how-to-crochet video on You Tube. You can interpret a visit to Tiger in one of two ways: It’s either the encouraging prompt you need to get yourself moving or a grim reminder of how there’s just not enough time for us to pursue all that we want to do in life. Sigh.
Anyhow, I made out like a bandit on my first Tiger excursion as I did manage to score a few items that I had been intending to buy for what seems like forever: A stellar broom for hardcore sweeping and oven mitts for my aforementioned madeleine making. Of course, I couldn’t resist a 2 euro notebook. In the kitchen corner, I spotted a 3 euro lemon juicer to which I just had to treat myself as it will simplify the madeleine making process. Near the register, you’ll find a number of mixes for milk shakes, spices and other packaged powders. Not exactly my thing, but who am I to judge? To each his own. There are no pretzels sadly, but there are plenty of bags of potato and tortilla chips to go around. While I’m still waiting for a place where I can find some perishables and medicinal products under the same roof as some of these delights, Tiger is enough to hold me over until Duane Reade or one of its equally convenient counterparts (i.e. CVS or Walgreens) looks east. I haven’t given up hope. At least not yet.
There are 31 Tigers within Italy. In addition to Milan and Rome, Tiger Stores has locations in Turin, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Genoa and Verona. Something tells me there are even more in the pipeline.
Via Meravigli, 1; +39 02 8909 6708 – Seven days a week: 10am to 8pm (Metro: Cordusio)
Via Nerino, 12 +39 02 8707 5150 Seven days a week: 10am to 8pm (Metro: Missori or 2, 3, or 14 trams to Torino Carrobbio)
Piazzale Cadorna, 4;+39 02 8909 2602 – Seven days a week: 10am to 8pm (Metro: Cadorna)
This article originally appeared on Sauce Milan.