A General Store Story

 

The QUINTESSENTIAL GENERAL STORE

That’s the official ad. It’s a general store. It’s in Cherry Valley. It’s for sale. But of course that’s just the beginning of the story. Let me tell you about Rury’s Food Store.

When I was a kid, my family had a cabin on 100 acres outside of Cherry Valley. We spent every summer there. I adored it and I loved the town of Cherry Valley. It was sleepy and friendly and quiet, and I was way too young to know or understand that Alan Ginsberg and a horde of wild-eyed artists had a place above town where they had a much more adventurous life than I did. But there was always something a bit more interesting in the air than you’d expect from a seemingly-forgotten small upstate New York town.

I brought my own kids to that cabin and we all have happy memories of their times there. To them,  this was the town where they could walk down the middle of the main street and only have to keep an eye out for a tractor or a dog. It’s where the library was the size of their house back home, and where they could find hilarious old comic books for sale in the back of the market down the road. And it’s where they could walk into Rury’s and enjoy the satisfying slam of a giant screen door and be welcomed by the same guy who used to greet their mom – Jake Rury.

My kids are grown now. And I’ve moved back to this area, drawn by a sense that I had to, finally, live here. I started talking to Jake, who was ready to sell his market. I really really wanted to run a general store. He let me run all over the building, and I learned there was a former lawyer’s office on the other side, two apartments on the second floor, and an absolutely incredible top floor space that was once used by the Mason’s.

IMG_0176

It didn’t work out; my partner will do almost anything for me, but moving his music studio into an aging building in the middle of a town he hadn’t quite warmed to yet (though it won him over eventually) was a step too far. We found a happy compromise in Franklin – a town about an hour away but equally artsy and charming and beautiful. Rury’s closed.

And then Jake died.

His sons own the building and they’ve got no interest in running the store. I got in touch and asked if I could help. They said yes.

And so I find myself representing a property that I still wish I could have bought myself. I can envision the market that could become the new Rury’s (and I will hope the name stays). I picture an owner who loves small communities, who wants to come in and become a part of what’s here, who appreciates its quirky history, its summer tourism and its winter quiet. I picture a coffee pot that’s on in the winter for the plow guys if the local diner isn’t open yet, a place with a table or two where the elderly folks know they’re welcome to sit down and visit and the local kids know they’ll be greeted by name. And I can picture so many things on that amazing third floor that I simply cannot list them all.

I know this town, and it needs a market. It needs an anchor. Right now, folks have to drive twenty minutes for groceries that aren’t stocked at the town’s convenience store.

The new owner may have other plans. But I’m rooting for a market.

Jake Rury’s dad worked in that market, then Jake bought it and raised his family in the apartment upstairs. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P, remember) was once a competitor, but it’s gone. It’s a health care center now. There was a newer supermarket. It’s gone; now an insurance agency. This is one of Jake’s boys. He’s looking for someone to take over a live/work opportunity that kept his dad and his mom comfortable for their whole lives.

 

IMG_4332

This is what’s on offer. It seems to be a good, solid old building. It’s a town that sees tourists from nearby Cooperstown and Sharon Springs in the summer. There’s a lot of updating to do, particularly the electric, so it requires clear heads. But there’s business in town, and there’s potential for this to be something very rewarding — and not just financially.

IMG_4351

 

 

 

Advertisements

Delhi

Let me tell you about Delhi. It’s probably somewhere you’ve visited, if you’ve come to the Catskills. It’s worth the trip. And it’s the gateway to so much of what I’m telling you about in this blog – it’s just the first stop.

Anyway, today I went to the closing of a listing I had in Delhi – a truly sweet old Victorian that very much deserves some love. It’s been a good shelter for a series of the sellers’ kids as they attended neighboring SUNY Delhi, but now it’s time for a new chapter.

IMG_2051 copy

I was early, so I did a little exploring. And I found some treasures.

First, there’s one I already knew about…the Blue Bee. The latest stop on Susan’s Upstate Caffeine Tour, and one you must visit. It’s not just the coffee. It’s the place. It’s the food. It’s about the most perfect cafe I’ve ever been to. And they make crepes on the weekends.

IMG_1744IMG_1745

Scones. They have really good scones. For me, there’s nothing more to be said. But I’ve been there a few times, had breakfast and lunch, and it’s never been anything short of amazing. So there’s that.

Five out of five, Blue Bee.

But it’s not just about food. Let’s talk about a good old fashioned general store, and not one that’s all about food. Let’s talk about Stewart’s Department Store.

Do you like clothes with a bit of a country chic vibe? Needs some adorable clothes for the kids? Toys? Men’s clothes? How about yarn? Fabric? Or some great country decor? This place has it all in a gorgeous vintage building.

And then there’s Stone and Sawyer. It’s a very special kind of shop. They make lamps. Really cool ones. The kind that make visitors stop and say, “Wow – where’d you get that great lamp?”

There’s more, but these were my highlights today. And then there’s the angel…

IMG_1728

Upstate, right?

Getting Ready For Spring

red green fruit in close up photography

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes, I know. There are a million things wrong with this photo for this post. First, apples ripen in the fall, not the spring. Second, we got about three inches of snow last night.  Beyond that? I didn’t take the picture.

But there is spring light, we’ll turn the clocks forward soon, the local maple guy has hung his buckets on trees all over town, and the Franklin Library has announced it is hosting a session on “How to prune trees” next week.

Can spring be far behind?

I didn’t know that fruit trees need to be pruned in the winter, not in warm weather. Armed with this information, I did my best with the wildly overgrown pear tree (I think it’s pear, anyway) in the field. It bore no fruit at all last year and I suspect it’s because all its energy went into sprouting branches at an incredible rate. The problem is it is quite tall. So I did what I could.

The apple trees are closer to the ground and I trimmed some of their overgrowth, too. Maybe, in time, it’ll be a real orchard.

Inside, the brighter light isn’t kind to dirty windows but there’s no point in attacking that issue until the weather improves. The dust and the clutter we accumulated over the winter is another matter. Marie Kondo would be proud.

How about real estate, you ask? Or not. But if you’re thinking of  selling, tackle whatever projects you can before the good weather lures you outside to work in the yard. And if you think you want to buy, now’s a great time to get yourself pre-qualified by the lender of your choice. That way, when you go hunting, you’ll know just what you can afford.

Wondering where the coffee review went? It’ll be back. It was too darned messy out to explore. But coffee beckons…

And take a minute and visit my spiffy new website..upstatecountryrealty.com

Sign up and I’ll keep you up to date with what’s going on, cool new houses, and all kinds of random things that interest me (and maybe you!).