A wildly fun and eco-friendly store, the Green Palette, has opened at 215 Main Street in New Paltz. Having worked in the furniture business for 15 years, and then opening his own sustainable furniture store in TriBeCa at Green Spaces, Marc Anthony decided that New Paltz was the perfect place to open up a new store that combines sustainable furniture with eco-friendly educational products and workshops, as well as a wide assortment of green products made by local craftspeople and free-trade organic products made by hand in various impoverished places in the world.
It all came together when his wife, Nataly Chesky, accepted a teaching job at SUNY New Paltz. They have two girls, ages 6 and 9, and Anthony said that he didn’t want to “commute to New York City every day, because I wanted to be with our children.” He found a space at the Medusa Antique Center on Main Street, next to Asian Fusion and Moxie Cupcakes, and went to work designing the store — which is a piece of art in and of itself.
All of his furniture is unique and made from recycled teak wood, with a few pieces even being featured on MADE, the furniture company (here are some vouchers for MADE.com if you want to check out one of his pieces). He also has a bevy of furniture made from pallets that he collects, as well as wood that he finds throughout town. “This is what everything is shipped in, and there are millions of them worldwide going to waste,” he said, taping a pallet that he turned into a piece of furniture. “Why shop at IKEA for a coffee table when you can make one out of wood that’s being thrown out? I give workshops on how to do this, let people use my tools if they don’t have their own; and then they have a coffee table that becomes a conversation piece. They made it, designed it — and it didn’t come from IKEA!”
Anthony is passionate about upcycling and making the things that he sells affordable. To that end, the store has a creative design of thrown-out artificial Christmas trees that he has cut apart and hung from the ceiling, dripping with beautiful ornaments. “I did holiday designs for Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and MoMA for years, and when the displays came down, there were all these ornaments that would have just been thrown out.” Instead, he saved them and can sell them at a discounted price.
One thing that Anthony is conscious of is “making sustainable furniture products affordable. We should all be driving a Toyota Prius, but when they cost $35,000, who can afford that? I can’t. So instead I’m stuck with a gas-guzzler that has no socioeconomic influence at all, and continues to pollute the Earth.”
What he learned in the furniture business is that the freight cost of moving the items “gets tacked onto the buyer. Your big furniture companies get freight deliveries every 35 to 40 days, and they cost $7,000 a pop. That is money that gets charged to the client.” Instead, Anthony offers his clients a six-month container deal, whereby he gathers all of their customized orders, builds them with recycled wood and then brings one container in twice a year, which provides his clients with a 50-percent-off savings.
While the store has modern, eco-friendly designs, handmade soy candles, handmade jewelry, cushion seats and a dream bed designed for his daughter, who was kind enough to let him put it in his shop, it also has great vintage touches like turntables that he has set out and a collection of vinyl records. “The great stuff always comes back around!” he said. One artist friend of his actually takes old vinyl LPs, melts them down and turns them into uniquely shaped bowls that are for sale at his store.
While most of the products sold at the Green Palette are made either by Anthony or by local artists, he does have some spectacular casual footwear and clothing by Marlandia. This fair-trade company out of Brazil makes handcrafted sandals and employs women who are impoverished and are looking for an ethical and stylish way to elevate themselves out of poverty: https://marlandiashop.com/about.html.
The Green Palette is more than a store; it also provides free puppet-making workshops and shows every Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., where children can use old taco-shell boxes to make puppets and join with Anthony in a Spanish/English puppet show to get a taste of another language.
“Each week the theme is different, and the kids love it!” said his wife. “We’ve used egg cartons, paper-towel rolls, cereal boxes…and the puppets all get their own names. Some speak English, some Spanish, some are bilingual.”
To learn more about the store, just stop by and visit, or go to the Facebook page at The Green Palette.