The temperature has dropped, leaving fingers numb and noses runny each time we step out of the house. These small nuisances are reminders that it’s time for not only significant wardrobe changes, but also that we are dawning on the days of gift exchanges. The holidays are right around the corner, and while options might seem limited in a small town like New Paltz, you might be surprised that our very own Main Street has something for everyone. Whether you’re buying a present for a family member, loved one or even the dreaded holiday office party, don’t rush to the internet and big corporations. The local shops here are eagerly decorating the town with festive displays showcasing some of their fabulous items. This week, The Oracle braved the winter chill and strolled down Main Street to chat with shop owners to see how they’re getting prepared for the incoming business attraction.
Running a small business is no easy feat. Owner Dana Cooper of The Ritualist, a small home apothecary shop curating a wide array of daily-use witchy items, shared her thoughts on owning a small business.
“It’s definitely a challenge when you’re doing it mainly by yourself, which I think is how most small businesses start out. I’ve been mainly running things myself with some help from my husband,” she said. “It’s definitely a lot to juggle all of the different kinds of tasks and roles from helping customers and being physically here at the shop every day to ordering inventory, answering emails, keeping the shop clean and looking good.”
“But it’s super rewarding because when you are here every day in your own space, you’re getting to interact with customers and see people’s faces light up when they come in and you get to help them pick things out,” added Cooper.
Small business owners of Manny’s Art Supplies, located at 83 Main St., Amanda and Zach Delfavero opened up about how stressful it can be.
“We actually own the store now as of the beginning of this year and prior to owning it, the holiday season was awful, to be honest, because it does get so busy and there’s a lot of people coming from out of town. So it’s not typical customers and sometimes it gets really stressful and you’re working a lot and taking time away from your holiday to take care of it,” said Mr. Delfavero.
“The amount of employees small businesses have tends to be very minimal. You don’t get much time off,” added Mrs. Delfavero.
Manny’s Art Supplies which has been serving the New Paltz community since 1962 is preparing themselves for the influx of shoppers by moving away from selling single items and putting out more sets, some that they have even outsourced from the United Kingdom — perfect for the art lover in your life.
Julie Safran, owner of Cocoon located at 67 Main St. and Verde on 3 N. Front St., explained how essential it is to support small businesses. Without shops like her’s, employees and artists would be put out of work.
“It’s a real thing having a storefront because you have rent, you have employees who you want to pay fairly. You got a million bills to pay … I can’t say enough about how important the trickle down effect is as far as supporting artists,” she said. “In Cocoon, I probably have 30 different artists that just make stickers. Can you imagine the life of someone that just makes stickers, they get an order in and they get $100 out of it.”
“So when the consumers come in and they get on their phone, and they start shopping on Amazon in the store, maybe they need to realize that’s not the way it should be,” added Safran.
If you find yourself in one of Safran’s shops and are struggling to find a good holiday gift, be sure to check out her wide assortment of socks, “I’ve got mad awesome socks. They are so sick and they’re so fun and do what they say they’re gonna do. If it says the world’s softest, guess what? It’s the world’s softest. They’re not that expensive, people get happy when they get them, and it’s something that you have to replace,” she said.
At Ritualist located at 72 Main St., Cooper shared some of the new and exciting things coming to the storefront. “We just brought in our first children’s book, we’re gonna have some witchy kids books. This one is like a little astrology book for anyone from infants up to older kids,” Cooper explained. While setting up her shop to highlight the perfect grab and go gifts, she told The Oracle, “I got pins in today that are super cute. I’m trying to bring in a lot of smaller items this time of year just for office holiday parties and Secret Santas. Like little gifting things, stickers and little accessories like little catnip cat toys.”
Another unique store to check out is Indigo and Velvet located at 73 Main St. Owner Alyssa Boss emphasized how important it is to be able to have different price points and cater to all types of people. “I have a bunch of beanie pom poms, I have multiple different colors and styles all for $15, I have local skincare that is clinically tested, I’ve worked with the esthetician personally so there’s a lot of wonderful curation guidance there.”
“Mainly I have cruelty free products. So if anybody is vegan or interested in living a cruelty free lifestyle, they can find multiple options,” added Boss, who has an impressive selection of vegan leather gloves, hats and belts.
This season, when you’re buying something special for a loved one, shop locally. The amount of time you put in to shop for your friends and family, these local entrepreneurs are working 10 times harder day in and day out to make your holidays special on top of theirs.