From 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday night, December 5, Woodstock will come alive with the annual Holiday Open House it has been celebrating for well over 25 years now, newly rebranded with the subhead, “A Customer Appreciation Night!” There’ll be Victorian carolers, a brass quintet, an ice sculptor, jazz musicians, a tree lighting, Santa & Mrs. Claus, raffles, hospitality tables, special sales, art openings…and several new businesses opening up around town.
The latter include two new artisan-made home furnishings stores, Pacama and DDay, located just over Tannery Brook on the “west side” of Tinker Street, and two new gift stores, Marigold, next to Rare Bear, and Little House, a fun collection of old and new that along with the others heralds a new younger feel to the town’s commercial profile.
“I had a client base from the city when we moved to Marbletown from Brooklyn. I wanted to build up more local business,” says Cedric Martin of he and his wife’s decision to open Pacama Handmade at 69 Tinker Street last summer. “Me and Jordan Colon, who does much of the pottery work on sale here, had a restaurant back in Greenpoint for which we made our own furnishings. Things grew from there.”
The resulting shop is spare yet homey, brought to life by Martin’s warm word furnishings, simple bowls and other ceramic pieces by Colon and others, and Martin’s wife Rebecca’s textile hangings.
“I just felt like Woodstock was a good fit because if its history with arts and crafts movement, and what it is now,” he added. “It’s been really great…a perfect distance from all parts of our life.”
Across the street at DDay, named for when the narrow, well-lit store displaying simple backpack, scarf and hat designs, along with choice jewelry and perfumes opened, as well as two of the three owners’ birthdays, Mai and Asa Warshafsky talk about having grown up where Birchtree’s now located, just down the street.
“When I was little this was a barber shop,” Mai remembers as her other partner, Jodi Busby, helps set up for an aroma fest in an hour.
“We started a backpack line, PMW MFG, and then the three of us realized there were similarities in what we were all doing,” Asa adds. “So we started a sort of collective, found this space, and decided we’d make anything we wanted to sell.”
Back up near the Village Green, Jojo Ans speaks excitedly about what prompted the Kingston resident, who used to run workshops at the Center for Photography at Woodstock after graduating SUNY New Paltz, to open her own store October 1.
“I’ve run photo studios, and brought my love of art into this place. But my firsts jobs were in retail, so I’ve also been able to bring in that element,” she notes. “My idea was to do something generational, with an underlying ideal of repurposing things… I pick what I like and so far it seems to be working. I put a lot into how it looks together, and I know a lot of people.”
Little House feels like a treat, full of knicknacks and perfect doodads, vinyl records playing and a sweet smell to the air as the stylish Ans welcomes a constant stream of weekend shopers, all seeming ready to buy something she’s got for sale.
Finally, across the street at Marigold, co-owner Howard Anchin speaks about how he and wife Maria Mendoza have kept up an interior decorating business on Route 28 for years and decided it was time to branch out. When the former scents shop at 34 Tinker Street came open, the couple jumped on it (and later a third space in Rhinebeck). After an extensive renovation, including installation of a classic antique sink for customers’ use, they “had a vision” and have augmented the keeping of some products loyal customers of previous stores wanted and newer products.
Once again, the result feels new, yet also akin to all that’s come before in Woodstock.
“It all started with a group of us working together as a publicity committee for the Chamber of Commerce,” recalled Joanne Margolis of the Open House’s beginnings on its 25th anniversary, several years ago. “Loretta Klein was involved, along with Robin Kramer and Sasha Gillman and a few others who later left town.”
Back then, the branding line for it all was “a fun-filled festival.”
“Our idea was to coordinate the holiday look a bit and extend the amount of time everyone had their decorations up,” Margolis added, then. “That’s where the idea of a window dressing contest came in. But also the idea was to get everyone to stay open later for that evening, so people would be able to experience the town in a totally different way.”
Since then, the original 35 stores involved has grown to nearly 50, with events ranging from a 5 p.m. tree lighting on the Village Green to the huge 5×7 show opening at the Kleinert and events lasting well into the evening.
Plus, of course, those sparkling windows. And all the pizzazz that new Playhouse president Randy Conti of the Woodstock Playhouse brings to everything he does.
New? Yes, and young. But also a Woodstock tradition now.
For further information visit ulsterpub.staging.wpenginechamber.com. Or just head into town this Friday, December 5.