Saugerties Merchants Association looks to make village a place for people to stop and spend money

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

How would you brand the Village of Saugerties? The newfound not-for-profit Saugerties Merchants Association, currently comprised of 35 area business owners, aims to boil down the essence of the community into a cohesive website, brochure and logo. Their tagline: “Destination Saugerties: Make it Happen Here.”

“We want people to think of Saugerties as a destination — a lot of people that I’ve talked to at The Dutch, they have people that come here because they’re passing through, or they’re really just going to Kingston or they’re at a friend’s wedding,” said Dallas Gilpin, owner of The Dutch and Windmill Wine and Spirits and the chair of the new Saugerties Merchants Association, which has organized itself 501(c)(3). “We want people to start thinking of Saugerties as their final destination and not just a place they stumbled upon.”

Membership costs $175 per year, which includes a mention in the group’s literature, space on its website and on materials the group will distribute to travel writers which may take up as a subject the community once dubbed one of the coolest small towns in America. The group debuted the first version of their brochures last week, which are distributed throughout the town. Throughout the summer, the group has coordinated Jazz in the Village events coinciding with sidewalk sales at local businesses — September’s iteration will take place this Saturday, Sept. 14.

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Gilpin said the association was born of a communal effort to bring yarn-lovers from the Indie Untangled festival at the Saugerties Performing Arts Center last October into the shopping district to eat and shop. Mary Ebel of The Perfect Blend Yarn and Tea shop, now a board member of the Merchant’s Association, expected an overflow from the knitting event to come into her shop; she contacted other area business owners to brainstorm ways to bring these visitors into other area establishments as well. After orchestrating shuttle buses into the village, hosting an after-party at the Dutch and having local businesses put together gift bags for visitors, the advantage of working cohesively became apparent.

“If we looked down the road at Saugerties in five years, we don’t want to see any empty storefronts,” said Brianne Ebel, director of dales at the Diamond Mills, daughter of Mary Ebel and the new organization’s vice-chair. “We want to see people thriving and happy — a diverse community of families, business options, ages. We want to see people seeking out Saugerties because they think that there’s something there for them, that there’s something there for everyone. A lot of our businesses have closed and commerce specifically in the village has struggled for lack of people.”

Gilpin and the Ebels, along with board members Laura Huron from Bosco’s Mercantile and Robert Langdon from the Emerge Gallery, devised a flurry of marketing images for their logo using an image board on Pinterest. Ultimately, they settled on one that included the red bridge, a small horse, the Saugerties lighthouse, the waterfall and Willie’s love knot.

Local merchants interested in joining the collective can visit www.destinationsaugerties.org for more information.

 

There are 2 comments

  1. JR

    If the merchants want people to stop and spend money start by not parking on the street. Parking is an issue and street parking is routinely occupied by business owners and employees. I can think of 2 antique store owners who park daily on the street in metered parking spots all day long. If you want customers to patronize your stores leave parking spaces for them to park and shop. Common sense?

    1. A true Sawyer

      Harassment by police, too many restrictions, I.E.: stop signs, traffic lights, hard turns, traffic, and yes no where to park, is a real problem in the village. Highways on the outskirts, and short cuts through the village, all are part of Saugerties destination’s bane. Include prices mainly for upper middle class, and wealthy, along with far too many high priced eateries for one small village center, add this with too few “vital” services or businesses, and you start too get the big picture. And, Saugerties, after you fix those bluestone, (Where is the bluestone coming from, again? You do know Saugerties is the home, of the largest bluestone/shale deposit in the world, and once was the epicenter of all the bluestone in NYC, just too name one place, where Saugerties bluestone is everywhere. … But I digress…), sidewalks, build a parking structure. If you have too, imminent domain some land or buildings, so too build a lot or structure, so there is parking. Make it easier, (Somehow?), too get through the village, and get your overzealous police Chief too lighten up on stop signs where they are, and never have been needed, letting plain folks enjoying your village cross any where they want, (almost like a promenade), with your force out protecting them, not harassing them, and yes business owners, their family and employees, along with the building tenants all should be kept from parking on the street during daylight business hours. Village businesses should lower their pricing, as well as, bringing in more “vital” businesses with competitive prices, and we do not need every store front being some sort of high priced eatery, and maybe that may help.

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