Prior to this past September, Katie Hartsough marketed her curated selection of sustainable home products on-line at KaaterskillMarket.com and around Great Northern Catskills at farmers markets and craft fairs. MaryJo Murphy sold her husband Mike’s Catskill Mountain Woodworking much the same way. But when a 3-month lease became available on a cozy storefront at the heart of the Downstreet Catskill business community, the pair chose to try their hands at traditional retail – at least for the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season.
The realities of operating a business during the pandemic restrictions of 2020 have proven challenging for retail establishments deemed non-essential, and the transition to remote working and online sales has caused many brick & mortar stores to re-think their business models. In Hartsough and Murphy’s case, these realities actually led to opportunity.
Both businesses already had a thriving on-line presence that generated significant sales. As more and more customers purchased and enjoyed their quality products, referrals drove more and more visit to their websites.
Kaaterskill Market sells a wonderful range of household ‘Tools for Living Well’ from compostable cleaning brushes, to sustainable dish soaps, beeswax food wraps, baskets, dispensers and kitchen items.
Hand-crafted cutting boards and coat racks from Catskill Mountain Woodworking proved to be a perfect compliment to this product offering, and the two entrepreneurs often displayed their wares together at community markets and festivals, drawing in buyers that often purchased from both businesses.The common element is the very tactile, and organic nature of the products themselves. The urge to pick up and hold, feel, and experience the aroma of these pieces is key to delivering first-time buyers – and these sensations are inherently missing from on-line purchases.
So, as one tenant departed the storefront at 430 Main Street, Catskill, NY – its landlord was willing to extend a short-term lease to enable Hartsough & Murphy to create an inviting destination where customers could experience the full sense of their products in-person.
The inviting space sits just below street level, so visitors feel like they are stepping into the pantry of a country manor, where the essentials of everyday life are stocked, ready and waiting for use. A steady, growing, but manageable stream of customers have discovered the shop which is open from 11:30am to 7pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 7pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
This support and interest from both residents and visitors has encouraged Hartsough to renew the lease into 2021, expanding product offerings and building Kaaterskill Market into a destination for anyone who appreciates quality, sustainability, and artisanship.
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