“Dying is easy, retail is hard,” the maxim about comedy could be amended to read. The Darwinian struggle to stay in business, particularly if you are an independently owned shop selling objects of that ephemeral element—style – has been displaying itself in Hudson more noticeably in recent weeks. In addition to Harvey’s Counter, whose closing Carole Osterink mentioned in today’s Gossips, there has been the recent (and almost overnight) disappearance of the megaplush antiques store NP Trent, which Word on the Street has heard will be moving to Kindherhook; last month’s closing of Mark Frisman 20th Century Design (after a steep rise of his rent at 527 Warren, Frisman decided to move his operation to St. Petersburg, Florida), CM Cherry, and now, Culture + Commerce Project (at 428 Warren), which for three years featured warmly modernist furnishings, lighting, and artistic objects created by talented local artisans such as Rob Williams, Joshua Howe, and Jules Anderson. “I’m very into brick and mortar, but it’s time to be more 21st century,” Culture + Commerce’s owner Sherri Jo Williams says, adding that the last two weeks of the store’s existence this month will be devoted to work by artists Kahn and Selesnick, and that C+C will be a continuing presence in pop-up shops and on the internet.
Happily, many of the historic structures on Warren Street have signs announcing new businesses, demonstrating its continuing desirability as a retail destination through tough times and despite rising rents. Classic Country will occupy the beautiful piece of stone and mortar (now, grayer than ever) at 431 Warren; Talbot & Arding Cheese and Provisions will (hopefully!) be opening at 323 Warren; and Hawkins New York, a modern home-furnishings store, will be the new occupant of the venerable Leader building at 339 Warren. Elegant gold lettering and bordering in The Leader’s storefront window is just about the only change the Hawkins people will be making to the fabulously intact original signage and window details, according to the fellow who was doing the taping—presumably the owner— who said he loved and wouldn’t think of camouflaging it; all I can say is, whoever you are, WELCOME! — Scott Baldinger