From Markets To A Storefront: Gary’s Pickles

Gary’s Pickles has been in business for decades, but has only run its own shop for a little over a month.
Gary’s Pickles has been in business for decades, but has only run its own shop for a little over a month.

Transitioning from pop-up festivals and seasonal farmer’s markets, popular Hudson Valley pickle vendor Gary’s Pickles opened its first permanent store on Feb. 3 at 215 Main Street. On the busy street, the business’s iconic green sign points passersby to its brick-and-mortar location, where it can proudly sell its products at all times of the year

Big, red barrels containing each of Gary’s many products line the front of the humble shop. It sells a range of different pickled products, including classic, full-and half-sour pickles, sweet gherkins and spicy pickles alongside pickled tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, sauerkraut and more. Certain products are only available seasonally to maximize the ingredients’ freshness.

The business dates back decades, founded in Maybrook, NY by Gary Karp in 1986. Karp worked with his close friend Barry Bliden in operating the business. Together, they sold pickles and other pickled goods to local markets for 27 years, until Karp’s passing and Bliden’s succession of the business. Bliden currently runs the business with his wife and children.

“Gary was a character,” Barry Bliden’s son and owner of the brick-and-mortar shop Adam Bliden said. “He was a pickle man. He could sell pickles to anybody.”

Bliden has worked with Gary’s since 2003. He is most proud of the shop itself in the business.

“I took over operations about a year ago, and in that year we lost our regular market,” Bliden said. “To go from selling pickles out of a van to having a real store, that’s a huge accomplishment. That’s my baby.”

For years, Bliden and other Gary’s employees relied on festivals and markets where they had to grab customers’ attention at every moment and had less of an opportunity to truly connect with people, but with the shop that dynamic totally changed.

“I get to really slow down and talk to the customers,” Bliden said. “It’s been awesome to hear what people are really interested in.”

That effect is noticeable — no matter who is working at the time, customers are guaranteed to speak to someone lively and personable.

The opening of the store represents the true legacy of Karp, and his original efforts in the business. Many customers have been loyal to Gary’s for multiple generations, and it is a treat to both interact with them and to provide them this space.

“It’s really nice to hear people come in and hear people say, ‘I remember buying from the original Gary,’” Bliden said. “It’s awesome because you know you can never stop.”

While their store is year-round, the team does not plan to stop honoring its roots and selling at festivals and markets. Next up for Gary’s Pickles is the Mother’s Day Cupcake Festival at Dutchess Stadium on May 14 and the three-day Memorial Day weekend Woodstock-New Paltz Arts and Crafts fair at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.

Gary’s Pickles is open from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. everyday. Be sure to stop in and try all their offerings, especially the pickled green tomatoes — Bliden’s favorite.

About Katie Ondris 46 Articles
Katie Ondris is a second-year journalism major from New Jersey. They have previous experience with fiction writing, but The Oracle is their first position as a journalist. Outside of New Paltz, they work as a barista and spend their free time indulged in films and books.

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