Why did you decide to open a business in the Catskills?
It was always a dream of ours to open a store together, but it was unattainable in Brooklyn. Knowing a bit about Roxbury and having a house there, we thought it could support a store that fit in with our vision. When Doug decided to leave his job in publishing, it was the right time to make it happen.
What was step one in making your dream come true?
It started with a family brainstorming meeting, several packs of Post-Its, and our theme, Roxbury General. Everyone wrote down all the things they wanted us to sell on the Post-Its, and stuck them on the wall. We categorized them, and, believe it or not, those categories pretty much became our store “departments,” to put a grand name to our merchandise areas. When the Enderlin building came up for rent, we knew we had found a home for our store.
How long have you owned your business here?
We opened Roxbury General in January of 2014, in the dead of winter, after everybody had bought all their gifts and spent all their money on the holidays. People thought our timing was strange, but we did well, and had an opportunity to work out the kinks before the summer season.
What has been your biggest lifestyle change?
No takeout-food delivery!
What are your favorite things to do here (when you aren’t working)?
Chill, daydream, make art, jog amidst the beauty in all seasons, ride bikes, plant and grow stuff, and hang out with friends and family, appreciate our good fortune in finding this place.
Name one thing you love about living and working upstate?
The mountains are filled with inventive and creative people who are inspired, energized, and comforted by the natural beauty that surrounds them. It brings out the creativity in us all, whether we are poets, artists, potters, or growers. It is a community of dreamers and doers of all sorts.
What advice would you give to people who are beginning to dream about starting a business in the Catskills?
This is a time and place of real opportunity. The Catskills are increasingly on people’s vacation radar. It’s affordable and fun to live here, the area is ripe for more businesses, start-up costs are low, there are good locations aplenty, and communities are very receptive to and rally around new businesses—it’s a great time to just DO IT! Make a plan, talk to people about it, attend local business association meetings. Despite our lack of experience in retail, we found in Roxbury a very encouraging community and supportive business environment that has helped make our dream a reality.