Beekeepers open Cold Spring pop-up
With little effort, LoMar Farms has generated plenty of media buzz, including coverage in People, The New York Times and O, The Oprah Magazine.
“There aren’t a lot of Black beekeepers, for one thing,” says co-owner Brett Wright. “We also make a great product and people like my wife,” actor Yvonna Kopacz, who has appeared on Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Last week, the couple opened their first pop-up boutique, at 167 Main St. in Cold Spring, to sell “farm chic” beeswax candles, honey, clothing, lip balm, body products and kitchen accessories. It shares the building with Wynono & Co. and Joseph’s Fine Jewelry.
After moving from New York City to Rockland County, Wright and Kopacz made ice cream runs with their two daughters to Cold Spring in their 1957 wood-paneled Thompson motorboat. Now in college, Lola and Marley help out with the family business (except the beekeeping) and inspired the farm’s mashup name.
“Cold Spring reminds us of Sag Harbor” on Long Island, said Wright. “But this is much closer.”
LoMar established a toehold in Cold Spring in May when Mundane, a scent shop down the street, began carrying its tapered candles.
The family’s journey into farming began while Wright and Kopacz rehabbed a weather-beaten, 200-year-old farmhouse, barn and other buildings on a 5-acre property. The 2012 documentary More Than Honey inspired them to learn beekeeping.
“I was amazed at how fast he said ‘yes’ to keeping bees,” recalls Kopacz, who grew up in Fresno, California, where she acquired experience in agriculture. At 18, she moved to New York City to work as a model.
Wright, who grew up in suburban New Jersey, had no farming experience. He began his eclectic career in marketing and business development at national magazines. Then, he worked at Uptown Records, one of the first hip-hop labels, and eventually owned Vice magazine — twice.
The couple began keeping bees to pollinate the property so that trees and plants would bloom while they renovated the house and barn. They also raise chickens and grow fruits and vegetables.
LoMar took off gradually after several celebrity friends began using their products, says Kopacz. Sales boomed during the pandemic shutdown when people nested with candles, and increased after the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd because people wanted to support Black businesses, she says.
Although new to Cold Spring, the couple say they are well aware of the challenges getting visitors to traverse Furnace Street, which Wright refers to as the Mason-Dixon Line.
“A lot of people park north of Chestnut Street, so they have to walk down and come back up, passing by twice,” says Lindsay Fastiggi, owner of Spice Revolution at 161 Main St. “Other people just want to take their steps and breathe in the beautiful air.”
To promote LoMar, which will be around until at least the end of the month, Wright plans to hand out honey sticks and other samples.
“This storefront has been empty for so long, lots of people who stopped in as we’re setting up are happy to see the lights on,” he said. “If we’re successful here, we might expand to other destination locations.”
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