Main Street Cold Spring is losing two familiar faces – Teri Barr and her shop – Hudson Valley Outfitters. HVO is now closed and Teri is moving on to a new chapter in her life. In addition to running her business, she has been active in the community, most notably through her involvement in the Chamber of Commerce. Rarely did a community event take place without her involvement. The Paper’s Michael Turton sat and talked with her about her decision to close the business, what the future holds, and even the standings in her online Scrabble group. Some responses have been abbreviated.
The Paper: When did you establish Hudson Valley Outfitters?
Teri: May, 2001.
The Paper: What is behind your decision to close the business?
Teri: The outdoor lifestyle model needs new energy behind it. I just wasn’t doing it justice anymore.
The Paper: What are you feeling about the move right now … what range of emotions are you experiencing?
Teri: I had a long time to process this. It’s more about comforting people who found out and are saying goodbye. I’ve been resolved about this for a while.
The Paper: What was it like at first – opening your own business?
Teri: I had no idea what to expect. It just took off … I couldn’t get off the ride. I was constantly putting out fires.
The Paper: Did your customer base change over the years?
Teri: Not really. Locals and tourists supported HVO. There was a downturn in retail and I didn’t adjust appropriately to the times … especially online sales.
The Paper: How has the business overall changed since you opened HVO?
Teri: It really started to change in 2005. I didn’t notice it at first. Every year sales were down. There is so much competition. For example, to do shoes properly, you have to have a LOT of inventory.
The Paper: The Hudson Highlands seems like a natural place – no pun intended – for a business like HVO. Do you think someone will quickly fill the gap that your closing creates?
Teri: Old Souls is enthusiastic about the outdoor lifestyle and they have energy and ideas. Some of HVO will make its way into Old Souls. They already have the trail maps.
The Paper: Where did you grow up?
Teri: Northern California and then southern California. And Connecticut as a teenager. My dad worked for IBM.
The Paper: Where did you go to school?
Teri: I graduated from Greenwich High School in Connecticut and then took courses in computer science at NYU.
The Paper: What have you liked most about living and working in Cold Spring? What will you miss?
Teri: Some of the people have been very dear to me. I’ve been surprised by the outpouring of … support that I’ve received … people asking why I closed, what I’m going to do. And I’m going to miss my staff. I couldn’t have done it without Amber and Avery … I’ve watched them grow up at HVO for the past seven years.
The Paper: What has been your biggest pet peeve about this area? What will you miss least?
Teri: The politics.
The Paper: Do you have a favorite crazy story about a customer?
Teri: This guy Len came in and bought a kayaking top and pants for his jet ski. He came back and said he didn’t think they were waterproof. I said they were and to prove it I took him into the backyard and squirted him with the hose. Much to his dismay they were not waterproof – turned out they were only water resistant. It was funny.
The Paper: The Chamber of Commerce here seems to have always struggled – what is its biggest challenge do you think?
Teri: I think there’s new energy with the chamber now. Debbi Milner is a real doer. And other people on the board are fresh; there’s enthusiasm.
The Paper: What’s the last book you read for fun?
Teri: Younger Today than Yesterday about what to do with the last third of your life. It became clear where I was needed.
The Paper: If you could add one thing to this community to make it a better place what would it be?
Teri: A music venue.
The Paper: Where will you be living?
Teri: California. My mom’s husband passed away in June. I’m needed there. My family is there.
The Paper: What’s on top of your favorite pizza?
Teri: I like gluten-free white pizza from Angelina’s.
The Paper: What are you looking forward to most?
Teri: Not having the burden of the store on my shoulders.
The Paper: Do you have a favorite annual event here?
Teri: It used to be the Great Hudson River Paddle. I like the Halloween parade – the simplicity of it. Don’t ever complicate it!
The Paper: Do you envision yourself visiting here in the future?
Teri: I’ll be back. I have connections here that I don’t want to lose.
The Paper: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Teri: I just want to say…The Sound of Music…and Elf.
The Paper: What do you do to relax?
Teri: I play Scrabble on the computer with friends and family. (Teri checks her computer) Oh my god! Lynn Miller is ahead of me by 13 points. Ari Strauss is ahead of me by seven points. I’m ahead of my brother by three points!
The Paper: What are your plans for the future?
Teri: To live simply. I don’t want to own a business. But I have some projects in the works.
The Paper: How is your son Max doing?
Teri: He’s in California now in a long-term treatment facility … being treated for his addiction. He said to say hi to everyone and that he is doing OK.
The Paper: How will you get out to California?
Teri: I’m going to drive cross-country by myself for the first time. I plan to stop in Nashville and also in Asheville, N.C., to visit Tara Cox. Then I’m going to meet my brother, Tom, in Houston. He’s going to do the drive across the desert.
The Paper: So what’s going to happen to the kayak business and tours now?
Teri: Stay tuned.