On May 20, 2020, Caryn Cannova marked the 20th anniversary of Kismet at Caryn’s, her shop on Main Street in Cold Spring.
What have been the best aspects of doing business in Cold Spring?
The support of the community, and the easy commute — I live in Nelsonville! My landlords have been fantastic, giving me the freedom I’ve needed, allowing me to change and grow. And having my own business has given me the flexibility I need as a single mom.
What have been some of the challenges?
The changes in weather from season to season and in customer preferences. I’ve needed to reinvent the business to stay relevant. I’ve had to change my way of thinking. It’s not about me and what I like. It’s about what other people like because they’re the ones you need to satisfy.
Has there been any silver lining to the pandemic pause?
It’s given me the gift of time, to sit and redesign the store the way I’ve always wanted it to be. And I’ve done it through gifts. A store owner from Monroe who closed her shop gave me glass display shelves I could never have afforded. A friend did a video for free. I’ve been able to focus. I’ve always wanted to sell balloons. I used my stimulus check to buy a helium tank and high-quality balloons. Sales have been insane. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in here.
Your shop has reopened. Is it considered essential?
I had questions about that and didn’t open until I clarified what is “essential” through the Reopen Putnam County Safely Task Force [of which Cannova is a member]. I didn’t just start selling toilet paper and open my door! I have always carried essentials. Any cleaning agent or disinfectant is an essential. I carry Lampe Berger, a disinfectant that’s been around for 120 years and is used in hospitals to purify the air; it uses 90 percent isopropyl alcohol and 10 percent water. I also sell hand sanitizer, men’s and women’s soap, bath and body products, and masks.
Does it seem like 20 years?
It seems like yesterday. I had no clue what I was doing when I opened, but Timothy Chevtaikin from Archipelago at Home took me under his wing. He taught me how to merchandise, how to buy, who to buy from. There was no competition — it was just “Let’s help each other out.” It’s been such a journey. I’d absolutely do it all over again, without a doubt.