Cold Spring store owners hope for a week of ‘shopping local’
By Michael Turton
Cold Spring’s Main Street shops have long been the subject of debate, especially when it comes to “buying local.” Residents have complained that shop hours are inconsistent and often don’t suit local needs. Shop keepers have said they’ve tried everything and that locals still tend to walk right past their door. With less than a week until Christmas, local shop owners are hoping for a boost in sales – even in the midst of a tough economy. Procrastinating shoppers will no doubt be scrambling to make those few last purchases. It remains to be seen how much of that 11th-hour rush will take place in Cold Spring.
On Sunday, Philipstown.info toured Main Street to ask store owners what the holiday season has been like so far and to get a sense of what the upcoming week may hold for local residents in search of the perfect, albeit last minute, gift. When it comes to hours of operation, residents’ observations about inconsistency are bang on. Of the more than 20 shops visited, it was difficult to find any two with the same hours. That may not be the most inviting strategy, especially when people are pressed for time. Shopping malls are a tempting alternative – with perfectly consistent hours and guaranteed good weather under a roof.
Caryn Cannova, owner of Payning by Caryn, thinks that if anything, local shops should think about expanding their hours. “When the economy is bad you have to come in earlier and stay later,” she said. “It’s been a slow start this year and that’s frustrating and stressful. Everybody’s struggling. But today has been insane. Between 12 and 1 p.m. I did a whole week’s worth of business.” Her shop features a wide array of gift items – everything from coffee mugs to Vera Bradley handbags. Cannova walks the talk when it comes to her shop hours. She will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. through Christmas Eve, the longest hours on Main Street.
Across the way at Hudson Valley Outfitters, owner Teri Barr said she thinks, “…our customers have remained loyal this year.” In the past, Barr said shops have remained open later in the weeks leading up to Christmas and that it simply didn’t work. That sentiment was echoed by a number of other store owners. “I think that events are the key. I had ‘Mens’ Night’ this year and I had a better sales’ day because of it.” Barr’s store, which features clothing and accessories for outdoor enthusiasts along with kayaks and other equipment will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Archipelago at Home is owned and operated by Tim Chevtaikin and he agrees that staying open later has not worked. “We’ve tried it every year and no one comes in after 5,” he said. He mentioned commuters walking home from the train and residents walking past his shop after the Christmas tree lighting as two groups he thought would stop to shop but don’t. His store stocks some of the most creative gift ideas in the village – from inexpensive items to high-end merchandise. Archipelago will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The Gift Hut offers mainly toys as well as gift items suitable for adults and is in its second year of operation. A toy store would seem to be a natural at Christmas. “It’s been good for us. We’ve been pleased,” owner Fran Farnorotto said. “And people have been shopping local. A lot of people have made that comment – they’re making an effort. “The toy shop will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday. On Christmas Eve hours will be 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Marilyn Heberling is a 22-year veteran of Main Street business. Her women’s clothing boutique Art to Wear Too has had evening hours a number of times. Santa and his Elves have even made an appearance and she has offered customers snacks and refreshments. “I thought people would come in but I was lonely. I drank the wine!” she laughed. Heberling said that Christmas Eve usually sees her sell numerous gift cards. Art to Wear will be open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Country Touch is known for its catchy-phrased wooden signs along with many gift items and an extensive selection of greeting cards. Owner Connie Kelley said of this shopping season, “it’s been about equal to recent years; maybe down a little but not too bad.” Her shop will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to. until “at least 6” from Tuesday to Friday. Kelley and a number of shop keepers said that if there are customers there – they will be happy to stay open. On Christmas Eve the shop will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The Country Goose is a Main Street mainstay with its coffees, teas, gifts and most everything under the sun. Owner Leonora Burton said a recent Wall Street Journal article about Main Street prompted numerous calls and visitors – both from out of town and local residents. The Country Goose will be open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 6 a.m. “The season has been good overall,” Burton said. “And I’m flexible. If people call me and ask me to stay open I will.”
Art may not come to mind immediately as a Christmas gift but that has not been James Murray’s experience at the Marina Gallery. An artist himself, he has sold several pieces leading up to the holidays. “People are more likely to buy art at Christmas – especially for that hard to please person. We’ve been pleasantly surprised – it’s been pretty good,” Murray said.
Momminia offers avant-garde jewelry. “The year overall has been pretty much the same [as recent years],” owner Steve Goodrich said. “And the last week before Christmas tends to be our best.” One of his employees added, “And we do gift wrapping!” – a factor not taken lightly by last minute shoppers. Momminia will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Back in Ireland’s misfortune may be a boon to Christmas shoppers this week. The store is currently in the midst of selling off its stock – much of it at a 50 percent discount – before closing its doors. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
For those with pets on their shopping list Reigning Cats and Dogs offers a full range of products from the land of four-legged friends. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will close at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
When viewed from one end to the other, Main Street Cold Spring offers a wide variety of potential Christmas gifts for the last minute shopper – everything from antiques, women’s clothes, and exotic teas and coffees to toys, outdoor wear, artwork, jewelry and even gifts for your favorite cat or dog. Shop hours are a challenge and can be quite vexing at times. But then again – so can shopping malls.