Brick and mortar survival

In planning for the shop I was not able to open due to a zoning problem, I purchased this fabulous old store counter.  It is all wood, with doors in front that at one time probably showcased baked goods behind screening.  It also has a fitting for brown paper wrap on the end. I’ve transformed this historical piece into a kitchen island.


Working with this piece reminded me of a summer trip my family took to the Catskill region of New York several years ago. When the children were thirsty we stopped the car in the nearest town: Delhi, NY.  As we walked down Main Street looking for a deli or convenience store, we stumbled upon Stewart’s Department Store and stepped back in time.

Every fixture was mahogany, with large mirrors and gorgeous light fixtures hanging from the tall ceilings. There were salesclerks behind gleaming counters, ready to assist with camping equipment, men’s hats, children’s shoes and umbrellas. The display that most reminded me of the early days of retail were the men’s dress shirts folded and displayed under long glass counters.

My children were aghast. They had never seen anything like this. I, too, was incredulous. How was a store like this thriving, in the age of the internet, in a tiny town in the Catskill mountains?

This was the time before we took pictures of everything. Hence I have none. But I feel the need to show some just to prove (to myself, really) that it did exist. I assume Stewart’s is still in business and I hope it is still thriving.

I do have proof, after all, of its existence. The one purchase we made that day. A pair of leather mittens with gloved fingers inside that I wear each winter.