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