Ho, ho, ho! Holiday season’s been a merry one for local retailers
Craft kits for children to make purses and rockets, a kid’s clothing line sown by a nearby seamstress, and a local skin care line made from plants.
From coffee to carbs, gifts and clothing, Foundry 42 is full of surprises, and the 2-year-old Port Jervis shop has got them whatever the size is.
It’s among the local stores reporting strong holiday sales revenue, with most shop owners expecting growth of around 5 percent this holiday season compared with last year.
Their preliminary predictions mirror the National Retail Federation’s rosy projection that sales revenues could reach $720.89 million for November and December, an increase of between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent versus last year.
That would exceed the past five years’ 3.9 percent average annual increase, making 2018 among the best years since 2006, including 2010 (growth of 5.2 percent), 2014 (5 percent) and last year (5.3 percent), according to the National Retail Federation.
“Retail isn’t dead. Bad retail is dead,” said Foundry 42 owner Cooper Boone.
Buoying this year’s spending, unemployment is near a 50-year low, consumer confidence is at an 18-year high and wages are climbing, said Ted Potrikus, president of the Retail Council of New York, a trade association.
It’s too early to say for certain whether retailers will meet analysts’ projections, given the variability of weather, consumer fickleness and December’s incomplete figures, Potrikus said.
“But the National Retail Federation’s projections are realistic,” he added. “Somewhere in 3 (percent) to 6 percent range is a result we could see in mid-January” when sales totals are tallied.
With the calendar also providing four full weekends of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, “it’s been a particularly strong season,” said Michael Newhard, owner of Newhard’s general store in the Village of Warwick.
“We had our best day in 20 years this past Saturday (Dec. 15),” said Gary Holmes, owner of the Canal Towne Emporium in Wurtsboro, which sells gifts, clothing and 20 other categories of items. “We’ve had 15-person deep lines, at peak. It was just crazy. But there’s been no tension. Like Woodstock in ’69, it’s been crowded and busy, but with positive spirits and good moods.”
‘Cocooning,’ ‘hygge’ drive sales
Yet, more revenue hasn’t necessarily meant higher profits, as stores flatten prices and discount goods to compete with other shops and e-retailers, local store owners said.
Also devouring margins this year, retailers say, are higher costs for freight, fuel, utilities and labor, driven partly by state mandates, and expenses from tariffs from recent trade wars instigated by President Trump’s administration.
Stores “have to do more volume to increase profits, with better promotions and better discounts,” said Gary Gottlieb, co-owner of the Liberty Trading Post, a giant Sullivan County home goods, hardware and gift store. “We’ve been running aggressive ad campaigns with sharp prices ... and selling goods like Craftsman tools and Weber Grills at the lowest prices allowed” by the brands.
Locally and nationally, this year’s big sellers include housewares, practical home items like kitchen stuff, home bar equipment, small appliances, work tools, winter wear and holiday decorations.
Pine-scented candles and popcorn poppers are the top attractions at the Newburgh Mercantile Exchange gift store, said store co-owner Eric Jarmann.
“If shoppers are looking for something that’s unique and different, they’re going to the small shops,” Jarmann said.
The “cocooning,” wherein Americans more often relax and cook at home, is driving the popularity of home items, comfy clothes and utilitarian goods, according to the NPD Group, a retail research firm. Since the 2007 recession, Americans have been more interested in affordably creating a cozy home sanctuary.
The trend is an embrace of the Danish idea of “hygge” (pronounced “hue-guh”) or appreciating homespun pleasures, while alone or with friends, in casual, comfortable or lived-in spaces.
At Linda’s Office Supplies and Gifts in Goshen, customers come for items like a hand-painted Christmas ornament featuring Goshen Village Hall and clothes like pajamas.
Amid hyper-competition from online shopping options and a surplus of physical stores, the best shops give customers the most reasons to come, said Linda’s store owner Linda Mabie.
“People come for the service, presents wrapped for free, free parking in Goshen in December and our individual attention,” Mabie said.
Rich Gottlieb, co-owner of the New Paltz outdoors store Rock and Snow, agreed.
“We’ve always gone the extra mile for the customer,” said Gottlieb, whose staff gives tips for enjoying local attractions, picking appropriate recreational equipment and using it properly. “We find out who customers are and how they want to brand themselves. In many instances, they want to brand themselves not by what they wear but by what they do.”
Retail industry shakeout
Local store owners say such steps to differentiate themselves are critical given online retail competition.
Roughly eight in 10 Americans are now online shoppers, with one in six buying online on a weekly basis, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center study. All told, one in six dollars spent this holiday season is expected to come from online sales, according to Adobe Analytics, a research firm.
Just as challenging for the area’s retailers is the glut of brick-and-mortar stores. America’s 23.6 square feet of retail space per capita is nearly nine times Europe’s total, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
It’s no wonder nearly 7,000 U.S. store locations closed last year, a record, and almost 5,500 stores have shuttered this year through Nov. 16, according to Coresight Research.
Struggling retailers have been beset by overborrowing, fast-fashion powerhouses like H&M, online giants like Amazon, discounters like Marshalls and high costs from maintaining too many storefronts.
Malls, too, have suffered in recent years. After peaking at roughly 1,500 in the mid-1990s, malls now number approximately 1,000, a roughly 33 percent drop. Unique local stores and shop-local movements are luring people to seek gifts at stores like Newhard’s in Warwick, Newhard said.
“Main Street merchants offer a unique experience that’s hard to commercialize — places that look, sound and smell good, close-at-hand places where you can meet up with your neighbors and you’re not in your car for miles with screaming kids,” Newhard said.
Local retailers say they’re not just individualizing shopping experiences. They’re turning stores into experiential attractions, like Ikea, where shoppers lounge in comfy furniture and eat meatballs.
In Port Jervis, Foundry 42′s owner, Boone, expects his store’s holiday season revenues to soar 45 percent over last year’s totals, by appealing to customers as a gift and homewares store, a coffee shop and a venue for everything from art events to religious groups’ meetings.
“For me, retail is about bringing people together, being a conduit for people to enjoy good food, great music and beautiful things,” said Boone, who sends hand-written thank-you cards to big spenders. “Yes, internet sales are up, but the best retailers are providing a place for people to belong that makes people want to come back.”
Plenty of seats at a well-set table
Cooper Boone curates community at Foundry42
Thanksgiving is here. Time to unpack the holiday dreams.
We dream about family, traditional food, the scents that remind us we’ve come home. But far too often, those dreams never make it to reality. We get lost in the minutiae, or the family argu- ments or the travel arrangements.
Talk holidays with Cooper Boone, and you come away thinking that the reality should revolve around community and belonging— wherever you find it.
As the shopkeeper at Port Jervis lifestyle store Foundry42, Boone is busy creating retail magic for the season. The shop sells a bit of everything, carefully curated: high-end furniture, vintage
items and home goods in one section; coffee, carbs and gluten-free treats in the coffee bar. The event space allows for live music, medita- tion classes, story time, weddings, dances, the- ater, workshops and more.
But he’s pushing the idea of retail further. In this era of dying shopping malls and the rise of the internet, “I have this concept around shar- ing our area,” he said. “I wanted to use [the shop] as a canvas to showcase the depth of talent here.”
Enter WeShare, a chance for local providers of all things lifestyle to get together and talk. From a bystander’s perspective, it is a way for people without retailing back- grounds to get their messages and products out to the wider world, especially in a rural area that lacks opportunities. During the weekend of September 29, Boone recruited artisans, farmers, writers and a smor- gasbord of providers of local goods from the Catskills, the Poconos and the Hudson Valley to participate in what rapidly spiraled from a visit to a full-on demonstration of what the area has to offer.
“The weekend was based on shar- ing, so we simply call it ‘WeShare,’ with the idea that if you share, that very act of sharing will inspire others to follow suit,” Boone said.
The group gathered at the farm- house shared by Boone, his partner Mark Veeder, and their twin daugh- ters to eat, talk and share what they do.
How does that tie into the holi- days?
For many people, the holiday dream is painted by Norman Rock- well, the stuff of connection, based in sharing food and stories.
Before Foundry42, Boone was a clinical psychologist. Now, he’s thinking and talking about the human craving for experience— physical interaction, not just typing words into a computer—a craving that surfaces, sometimes painfully, at the holidays.
“People bond with experiences... We want community.” That, he feels, can be built around good food and events that bring everyone together. Not just with a birth family, but with friends and neighbors, sharing food and talking.
And not just in a house. “At Foundry42, it’s like my big living room... we engage people, encour- age them to stay and hang out.”
Forging ties between people. “When [we] find a place to belong, we’re happier.”
That place can be a house of wor- ship, somewhere we volunteer or the neighborhood pub. It can be a café or an art gallery or a studio where we take classes. It can even be a shop. “We all crave connection ,” said Boone. “Connection and belonging.” Especially at this time of year, especially around the holiday table.
Visit Foundry42 at 42 Front St, Port Jervis. 845/858-4942 or visit f42home.com
Meetings with Remarkable Men. This title of a famous book by Georges I. Gurdjieff inspires the latest L’Uomo Vogue, which is free with Vogue Italia in November (but also available to buy separately). In fact, “remarkable people and places” is the fitting theme for the magazine’s second issue, following its recent return to newsstands with a fresh editorial formula, a new graphic layout, and articles (also) in English to engage an increasingly international readership.
The new issue therefore tells us about extraordinary places, described by photographers and writers who have opened their book of memories to take readers on a journey to special corners of the world.
The people portrayed are exceptional too. There are emerging actors such as Joe Alwyn (we’ll be seeing him in five new films) and stars like Richard Gere. There are LGBTQ families from New York photographed by Ethan James Green, and Hungarian cowboys captured by the lens of Tom Johnson. There are the most outstanding new names in menswear as well as the top fashion authors of the international press.
Then there are the men whom Paolo Roversi has selected and portrayed for L’Uomo Vogue, compiling a sensational portfolio that includes his sons, lifelong friends, young actors and old colleagues, perfect strangers and illustrious fellow photographers like Peter Lindbergh. Roversi explains: “It happens in an instant: you see one of those faces and you think, I want to photograph you.
The everlasting patina of the Country Living Fair
The 3-day Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck is filled with antiques, vintage, rustic and handmade items where the pages of Country Living Magazine come to life. The fair is held the first weekend in June.
Cooper Boone opened his lifestyle store, Foundry42 in 2016 in Port Jervis, NY. The store features his great loves: Food, Design/Antiques and Music/Events. The store has been creating many waves, having been written about in Vogue, Out Magazine, Country Living Magazine, NY Times and Naturally Danny Seo Magazine. Foundry42 was recently voted one of the Top 50 Retail Stores in the United States by Home Accents Magazine.
Best ideas from our Retail Stars
For maximizing exposure, few ideas work better than in-store events. Foundry42 has had contestants from Food Network’s Chopped in for cooking demonstrations and more. Red Door Home creates themed social events, including a Christmas open house, an annual anniversary sale and a spring open house. Each event includes door prizes, special offers and/or gifts with purchases.
Meet Cooper Boone, a key player in Port Jervis' Renaissance
Foundry 42+ of Port Jervis has been named one of the nation’s “50 Retail Stars for 2018” by a leading trade magazine, Home Accents Today.
Business Editor Thomas Lester, who compiled the list from nominations by members of the home furnishings industry, said, “Foundry 42 stood out among all the entries we received.” Citing creative retailing and contributions to the community, Lester said the local lifestyle store “checked all the boxes we were looking for.”
Cooper Boone, creator and founder of Foundry 42+, introduced his unconventional marketing concept to a depressed downtown in November 2016. A fusion of heterogeneous finds and furnishings, cosmopolitan coffee bar, and product and artisan demonstrations, “Foundry” is crowned by The Loft overhead - a 2,400-square-foot space devoted to concerts, community programs, and private parties. Since opening, Boone’s eclectic mecca on Front Street has been credited as the trigger for the current revitalization of downtown Port Jervis.
The award from Home Accents Today, said Boone, “affirms our philosophy of retail, which is experiential based.” Experiential marketing, according to the entrepreneur, offers clientele a sensory experience as they shop - one during which they can see, taste, touch and absorb their surroundings.
Boone said his marketing strategy reflects his life’s passions - “food, design, home goods, and parties.”
The 50 entrepreneurial honorees - from 26 states across the country - will be honored at a celebratory dinner in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted by wholesale trade center AmericasMart Atlanta, sponsor of the Retail Stars list, now in its 14th year of recognizing “the best independent home décor and home furnishings retailers in the country.”
Foundry42 in ‘Top 50’
Wed, 05/23/2018 - 12:21pm
PORT JERVIS, NY — The national trade magazine Home Accents Today recently honored local retailer Foundry42, 42 Front St., as one of America’s top 50 best and brightest home accessories retailers, also known as “Retail Stars.” This list includes the most innovative independent brick-and-mortar retailers of home accents and accessories, which includes furniture stores, home décor boutiques and interior design retailers that are creative in their merchandising, contribute to their communities and distinguish themselves from the competition.
Owner Cooper Boone was “blown away” by the award and credits his amazing staff for “giving the store a soul and a place where people want to stay and shop.” Jeff Portman, AmericasMart chairman, president and COO, said, “These 50 entrepreneurs are set apart as the best and brightest in an industry populated by highly gifted achievers.”
Foundry42 offers home goods, antiques, gifts, events, coffees, beers and wines. Visit www.f42home.com.
Foundry42 in Port Jervis wins Top 50 retailer award
PORT JERVIS, N.Y. -- The national trade magazine, Home Accents Today, recently honored local retailer Foundry42 in Port Jervis as one of America's top 50 best and brightest home accessories retailers, also known as the Retail Stars list.
The "list" lists the most innovative independent brick-and-mortar retailers of home accents and accessories, which includes furniture stores, home décor boutiques and interior design retailers that are creative in their merchandising, contribute to their communities and distinguish themselves from the competition.
Owner Cooper Boone was "blown away" by the award and credits his staff for "giving the store a soul and a place where people want to stay and shop."
Boone will be attending a VIP dinner at AmericasMart in Atlanta this summer honoring the award winners. In the words of Jeff Portman, AmericasMart chairman, president and COO, "These 50 entrepreneurs are set apart as the best and brightest in an industry populated by highly gifted achievers. How good it is to help applaud and celebrate their remarkable accomplishments."
Best described as a lifestyle store, Foundry42 offers home goods, antiques, gifts, events, coffees, beers and wines. Foundry42 is located at 42 Front St., Port Jervis. Visit them online at www.F42Home.com.
Cover story on Cooper Boone is this month's issue of Port Jervis Life.
Foundry42 has been chosen by Home Accents Today Magazine as one of the Top 50 Retailers in the USA 2018!
Foundry42 spreads the Halloween spirit
Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:57pm By IAN PUGH ARTICLE LINK
PORT JERVIS, NY — “Foundry42 is a combination of food, design and events,” says founder and owner Cooper Boone, and since 2016, Foundry42 has offered plenty of all three: music, arts and crafts and kids’ story times stand alongside a coffee bar and retail/rental spaces. But throughout the month of October, it will also serve as the starting and ending location of the Historic Ghost Tour of Port Jervis, an hour-long guided tour that promises to “inform and entertain” patrons through storytelling and surprises.
“About a year ago, I started doing a lot of research on tourism in the state of New York, and the number-one utilized tourist map were the ghost tours of New York. So I formulated a proposal, and we got a grant from the Orange County Department of Tourism to develop a ghost tour. I love it because I’m a history buff, and basically, ghost tours are about history at the end of the day—and Port Jervis has a very rich history. It’s an old industrial commerce town, and the railroad was very active with shipping as well. So once we got the grant, I hired someone to do the research and development of the tour, and she worked on it for seven months.”
Boone credits Jonel Langenfeld with that creation and R&D process, and cites William Schill and Helen Curreri as guides for the tour, whose attractions and stories were validated by Etta-Lyn Cavataio.
“[Cavataio] is a psychic medium—they don’t have licenses for these in the world, but I have experienced her personally doing readings, as well as a number of other people. Without any information... she is able to pretty much contact dead people… We purposely didn’t give her any information, and when she came down, for example, she went into one of the spaces [on the tour], and she’s like, ‘Oh my God, I keep smelling formaldehyde, there’s this thick stench,” Boone reports. “Many iterations ago, it was a funeral home, and she was smelling embalming liquid and all of that stuff.”
Boone further elaborates on the paranormal occurrences in his own backyard: “At Foundry42, we have a jokester and a prankster ghost who is definitely male, and feels like a very young male—almost like teenager humor. We were doing an event, and we have these birch trees that [appear to be growing] through the shelf. They’re all glued and nailed in, and literally they flew out across the room. No one was hurt—it isn’t anything that’s bad, but it’s like, standing-behind-a-corner-and-scaring-your-sister kind of stuff.
“Port Jervis is going through this massive renaissance… all of the buildings downtown have been purchased… So with all of this construction going on on Front Street—evidently, when there’s renovation of any kind in old buildings, it stirs up a lot of ghost activity. So when [Cavataio] came the first time, she was like, ‘Oh my God, my head is spinning.’”
Also among Foundry42’s autumn and Halloween events is an Autumn Bounty Dinner prepared by Dafna Mizrahi of “Chopped” (October 21, 6 to 9 p.m., $85+tax), a kids’ costume party (October 28, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., $15 per child+tax) a ball and adult costume party themed around Kenny Ortega’s 1993 comedy “Hocus Pocus” (October 28, 7 to 11 p.m., $40+tax). “It’s one of my favorite movies,” says Boone. “It’s become a classic American kind of Halloween film, and it’s light. It doesn’t feel scary to me. It’s something I would let my daughters watch at a young age and feel OK about it… I think that also [the witches are] misfits, and people connect with that as well... I was a psychologist for 20 years, and I think that some of the fanciest, most buttoned-up people still experienced feelings of being ultimately nerdy, and kind of not fitting in, but doing their best to do so. And I think that witches in general speak to that.”
In addition to his personal history across the worlds of music and the culinary arts, Boone describes his approach to psychology as “eclectic,” which extends to his general perspective on life and the supernatural. “Einstein said, ‘Energy never dies, it goes somewhere.’ I certainly have had some very, very interesting experiences throughout my lifetime, and when you bring up this subject, it’s fascinating to me how people respond. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never told anyone this’… It’s almost like people are chomping at the bit to talk about their own ghost stories.
“I have this sense of time… it’s one life, and I’m perpetually curious and kind of fearless with my curiosity. I’m more than just one-note. I pursue what I feel passionate about—but I have to feel passionate about it.”
The Historic Ghost Tour of Port Jervis will be held on October 7, 14 and 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 plus tax, and each event date is limited to 20 tickets. Foundry42 is located at 42 Front St., and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about upcoming events in October and beyond, visit the Foundry42 website at www.f42home.com or call 845/858-4942.
The couple is active in the local farming community and in nearby Port Jervis, Boone heads up Foundry42, a home furnishings boutique that houses a coffee shop and event/workshop space. It also happens to be the only retailer, apart from Sephora and QVC, where Farmacy’s products are sold. The twin’s bathroom is well stocked. “They’re obsessed with Honey Savior because it’s an all-in-one healing salve, it works on scrapes, bruises and diaper rash,” says Veeder. “Every time they fall they say, ‘Honey, honey!’” Pots of Lip Bloom are another household favorite. “They call it lipstick,” he says, adding that the tinted lip balm came in handy as a reward for potty training (parents: “that’s another use for it!” says Veeder).
LOOSE IN THE BORSCHT BELT
Foundry42 Fires Up Front Street
Warm and welcoming new faces on old spaces are going up along Front Street.
Step into Foundry42 in Port Jervis, and the aromas of brewed-to-order coffee and freshly baked noshes welcome you. Your nose understands the handmade nature of the place — and everything in it — even before you adventure into the generous loft-style space. There, you discover one-of-a-kind wares from skilled makers and unique pieces picked from across the country.
“Everything in our shop is made with love,” says Owner/Proprietor, Cooper Boone. “Even our coffee is a signature blend just for us, and arrives within days of roasting.”
Boone launched the store in 2016 with his partner, Mark Veeder. It reflects their many interests, and Boone’s uncanny sense for combining industrial and pastoral elements to yield an upscale aesthetic that some have called “modern farmhouse.”
Foundry42 products possess the unmistakable, yet indescribable, qualities that come from small batch production. You will find hand-woven rugs, hand-dipped candles, handstitched aprons, handmade furniture, and all types of artisan-created household items. But, equally important to Boone is that you also feel some connection to the makers themselves.
“You may come in here and find us at the loom one day, or making our candles,” says Boone.
Foundry42’s logo includes a plus sign, a symbol of the positivity and inclusion that Boone hopes to spread from his retail base of operations. Including the community curated exhibition and performance space on the second floor, Foundry42 had always been conceptualized as a place for creativity to happen and be shared, as much as it is a store.
Boone and Veeder are also hands-on at the maker level. Besides having designed many of the F42+ brand items for sale, Boone also creates the locally milled wooden tops for his Truman Collection of tables. Veeder’s skincare line, Farmacy, is created, in part, from his proprietary echinacea plant. Farmacy products are available exclusively at Sephora stores, QVC, and now Foundry42.
Picked With Purpose
For each new item on the floor, Foundry42 also shows you two or three of an earlier vintage. Each piece has been chosen with a vision for its restoration and repurposing, and an eye toward how it will fit into Foundry42’s overall vibe. Wooden arrows are displayed as a bouquet; a salvaged limestone sink as a planter; refinished industrial lockers for your mud room; the floor tom from a vintage drum set, an end table. It’s quirky, quaint design that’s accessible to anyone.
“Like Port Jervis, a lot of the items have an historic quality to them,” says Boone. “It’s nostalgia, but we aren’t recreating the past; we’re creating something new.”
Boone chose to do business in Port Jervis, citing all the attractive details it offered: great architecture, its proximity to the train and highways, hip destinations nearby, the area’s natural beauty, and the peace of the Catskills. Following his move here and subsequent business successes, he’s helped convince other business people of the potential, and they’ve begun to piggyback on his enthusiasm.
“People are buying up these gorgeous old buildings and have started rehabbing them,” says Boone, “and great stuff is moving in.”
Boone coined the term “reJervination” for the movement! Now, Port Jervis isn’t just the
last stop on the train line out of NYC, it’s becoming a first stop for adventurous shoppers, diners, and sight seers. Foundry42 is right in the thick of it, located at 42 Front Street in Port Jervis — a place for people to go to relax and be inspired, as much as to shop.
“At Foundry42, there’s a place at the table for everyone,” says Boone.
Foundry42 is open Thursday through Sunday, from 8am until 5pm; Monday through Wednesday by appointment. You can call Foundry42 at 845-858-4942, or check out their website www.F42home.com to see some of their signature items. When you pay them a visit in Port Jervis, there’s free parking and an entrance behind the shop, off of Ball Street.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: FOUNDRY42
Beneath a soaring ceiling stands a flannel-clad barista steaming a latte. A mounted buck, surrounded by thunderstorm-gray walls and a golden frame, holds court on the opposing wall. The room is awash in similar funky signage, handmade furniture, and art. Shoppers peruse these heirloom odds and ends scored by the constant whistling of the espresso machine. There’s a very Brooklyn-comes-home feel here at Foundry42 — a Port Jervis lifestyle shop that started serving coffee and baked delicacies in November.
Cooper Boone, a food- and design-loving singer/songwriter, has been a major force behind the whole operation. He was splitting his time between New York and Nashville, but when he and husband Mark Veeder had twin girls in 2014, he decided to move north full-time, and helped found the Orange County shop’s space. “Architecturally, Port Jervis is beautiful. It’s always had good bones, but it doesn’t make sense why it hasn’t flourished,” notes Boone. “It’s the last stop on NJ Transit, right off of highway 84, and some 15,000 cars go by every day. We really believed there’s a significant opportunity there.”
The shop features furniture (developed by Boone and artisan-designer Victor Salib) made of reclaimed wood, rolls of antique cloth, and locally made accessories. The cafe serves coffee from Minnesota, where the beans are roasted for the shop and shipped directly. “We have amazing, amazing curated coffee,” says Boone, “and signature baked goods. That’s it. No more, no less; no breakfast, no lunch. Just great baked goods.”
There are the “chip-chip cookies,” a sweet and salty concoction incorporating crunchy potato chips and chocolate morsels, and scones that are light and crumbly, dotted with currants. Boone also creates mini flourless chocolate cakes along with brownies that are dense and moist. Muffins are the only menu offering not made in-house.
Unlike many Valley venues, the baked goods here don’t depend so much upon what’s in season, but are rooted in Boone’s mood. “It’s not based on harvest. It’s based upon always wanting to make something new and different and fresh and interesting.”
Boone sees the business as “a trio of my selves living in one building: food, design, and, upstairs, a multi-functional event space.” While the main floor hosts the aforementioned crafts of all sorts and, of course, the lattes, the upper level is being converted into an event space that can be used for everything from music and kids’ dance classes to yoga sessions and weddings. Suddenly, everything is a mash-up of new and old again — innovation, construction, coffee, and a town angling for a comeback.
42 Front Street, Port Jervis; 845.858.4942; www.f42home.com/coffeebar
Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thurs-Sun and Mon-Wed by appointment
ECLECTIC RETAILER OPENING IN PORT JERVIS
Front Street’s newly opened Foundry 42+ is not your typical retail store. It is, said owner Cooper Boone, “experiential marketing” at its best, a place where clientele can “experience” their shopping visit, even become “immersed” in what Boone has created as a lifestyle brand.
“You’re basically coming into my world,” he said.
Boone’s world is about music, art, food and reinvented furnishings. At the store entrance, a coffee bar offers cappuccino, lattes and hot chocolate “made with milk, not water,” the proprietor points out. Homey flavors of five signature baked goods waft onto a floor where artisans demonstrate their crafts, such as candle making, painting and rug weaving.
And throughout, there are the eclectic curiosities Boone has rescued from stagnation, repurposed and re-imagined. A vintage tom-tom drum became an occasional table; a cheerleader’s megaphone transformed to a pendant light; a bunch of wooden arrows evolved into a centerpiece in glass. Boone has been “picking” his store inventory for years, gathering an assortment of oddments in which his creative eye saw potential.
The rear of the store is dotted with pieces from the Foundry 42+ furniture collections, each piece handcrafted by Boone and business partner Victor Salib, a metalsmith. Here, a sculpted black walnut coffee table, cracked and knotted, has been lacquered to a high luster.
“The Japanese have a philosophy called wabi-sabi,” Boone said. “It’s embracing what we traditionally think of as damaged. A crack in the wood doesn’t need to be covered up. It’s actually really beautiful. That’s how I view people. There are a lot of cracks and flaws that are quite lovely about human beings.”
“Throwaway” armchairs from the 1930s have been upcycled, their backs deconstructed to expose burlap and springs; their seats upholstered in imported, hand-loomed fabric. They are priced upwards of $1,000.
The yet-uncompleted upstairs of Foundry 42+ will be a rent-out community space for functions such as musical concerts, private parties, book clubs, yoga classes, art exhibits, chef dinners, lectures, children’s activities — virtually any event. “I see a calendar packed,” Boone said.
If the store itself is unconventional, then so is its founder. Hailing from a small town in Minnesota, Boone was a musician and ceramicist before relocating to New York City, where he practiced clinical psychology for some 24 years. He then returned to country music, touring nationally as a singer and songwriter.
“People, if they allow themselves to be, are a lot of things,” Boone declared. “And I allow myself to be a lot of things.”
Drawn to the “good bones” of Port Jervis for years, the time was finally right to launch Foundry 42+. The plus sign, Boone explained, means “in addition to ... including,” a logo emblematic of the store’s heterogeneous wares. The property at 42 Front Street (formerly Tri-State Fitness) had a windowless, wooden facade; its interior was “dark, small and stuffy,” said Boone. Now an architectural antonym of what it once was, the structure is fronted by a wall of glass, gutted and open inside. “Our furnishings represent what we’ve done with the building itself,” Boone said. “We re-imagined it.”
“Yes, some of our stuff is expensive,” Boone conceded, “and I don’t apologize for that. We are a higher-end store.” A visitor had expressed doubt, he said, that an upscale retailer can succeed in so depressed an area. “She said, ‘I don’t mean to insult you, but ...’,” he retold. “I said to her, ‘I don’t think you’re insulting me. I think you’re insulting Port Jervis.’”
Boone believes, he said, in the “reJervination” of the city. “You will not know this downtown in a year. Things are happening. I had a dream that all the (vacant) properties would sell within five years, and close to all of them have sold within one.” Port Jervis, Boone predicted, will return to its glory days, “but with a contemporary perspective. It’s not going to be 1955 again. It’s 2016, and it will have a new identity.”
Foundry 42+ is scheduled to open this weekend. For hours and more information, call 858-4942 or go to f42home.com.