If the perceived economic potential of a community can be determined by the amount of time it takes shuttered shops to be replaced by new ones bright with hope, then the village of Saugerties is indeed an encouraging location for would-be entrepreneurs. In many cases, shop owners that went out of business this year were quickly replaced by ones that believe they have found a niche that will help them be a success.
No smoking, no problem
The Hudson Valley Vape Shop on Main St. moved to Saugerties in the last month after having operated in the Hudson Valley Mall for five years. Owner Erica Chick said she’s recently moved to the area and wanted to move her shop closer to home, and “Saugerties seems like the perfect fit.”
The vape shop, short for vapor or vaporizer cigarettes, sells e-cigarettes and associated products.
“I specialize in Green Smoke products,” Chick said of her product line.
“My move to Saugerties makes my shop convenient for my customers and provides better parking than was at the mall,” she said. “Rather than having to park halfway across the mall parking lot, they can just pull up out front.”
Chick said she’s so enthusiastic about the local business community she’s looking to join the Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Saugerties is just such a great village.”
Cup of Joe
Also new to the community is the family-run Blue Stone Roasting Co., at 138 Partition St.
Operated by Michael Hom, his wife, Robin, and son, Josh, the roasting company is a small, friendly coffee shop that grinds and roasts its own coffee, and serves up tea and tasty noshes as well.
Having been in business in Saugerties for about eight months, Michael Hom said he can hardly wait for the weather to get warm again because he plans to expand his business by opening the rear of the shop onto a porch for outdoor use.
Hom, a Saugerties resident, said he’s always wanted a place of his own. “I looked at a number of towns to set up, but this is the place that I always wanted to be,” he said.
“We saw that there was a need for a coffee shop that gets most of its beans from a single farm and a single source,” Hom added.
Green growing things
Hazel Sherburne, who runs The Dancing Tulip at 139 Partition St., across the street from the Blue Stone Roasting Company, said she, too, was drawn to the friendliness and quaintness of the village.
“I turned 50 and everything blew up,” Sherburne laughed.
This former master gardener from Greene County figured that 50 was a great age to go out and start her own business. “I’ve found a niche in the village and filled it,” she added.
Joining Sherburne in her endeavor is Judy Reimer, who owned the Judy’s Flower Box formerly located on Rt. 28 in Kingston.
The name of the shop, The Dancing Tulip, comes from a painting of tulips that hangs behind the counter. Sherburne explained that her father-in-law loves the painting, and her mother-in-law looked at it and said, “The tulips are dancing.” And the name stuck, Sherburne said.
On one of the coldest days of the year so far, Mark Grusell laughs when he says that he moved up here from Key West to get away from the warmth.
Grusell operates the popular eatery Love Bites. “We were really successful; so successful that we had to move out of our building,” he says.
Love Bites relocated several doors up Partition St. and Grusell was left with a vacant building at 85 Partition St., so a little more than five months ago, he opened a taco shop, Nacho Mama, in the vacant storefront.
“This is such a great little village,” Grusell said. “It’s great seeing it establish itself and grow into a vibrant community, and it’s fun being part of all that.”
Something to see
The newest business in Saugerties is Spirols Gallery at 196 Main St., which opened this past weekend. Owner Emmallyea Swonyoung said she loves Saugerties and wants to help its business community grow and flourish.
“I wanted to bring art back into the village,” said the transplanted New Yorker.
“I grew up with the arts,” she said. “My parents would take me to galleries in the city and I always dreamed of opening a gallery of my own.”
“I was raised in the art world,” says Swonyoung.
Art isn’t Swanyoung’s only love, she is an avant-garde jazz singer.
Like many transplants, 911 brought Swonyoung and her family north to Saugerties. Since the move, Swonyoung has thought about opening a gallery. When the shop on Main St. opened, she decided it was time.
Spirols Gallery will feature the work of local, national and international artists.
“This is my dream,” she added.
All photos by Robert Ford