New Years' Resolutions

Well, it's come that time of year again - winter is here (it's currently icing in the Catskills, yuck) and we've decided to get serious about expanding our inventory. 

Through June, we will be making an effort to order from one new company per month. However, come summer, our goal is to order from one new company per week. Hopefully, this will enrich and enliven our store in a whole new way. 

On the list of companies to order from - Victorinox, Riedl, King Arthur Flour, Pro Teak, Golden Rabbit and a few special and secret surprises. We also want to bring in more items that are made locally, so keep an eye out for this as well. 

What kind of things would you like to see in the store? What are we missing? Anything you would like to see less of? More of? Let us know and we will happily accommodate you!

Thanks!

Jess

It's Maple Season in the Catskills!

We're curious! How much do you know about maple syrup production? Growing up in the Catskills, we were fortunate to have friends and neighbors whose lives revolved around making the sweet stuff this time of year. So, here's some fun facts for you!

1. Maple sap is what makes syrup and it only comes from sugar maple trees. Other trees produce sap, but none are as prolific as the sugar maple. The sap requires warm days and cooler nights in order to "run." This can start as early as February (like it did this year) and go as late as April. The syrup produced earlier in the season is a light golden color while the later syrup is dark and caramely colored (my favorite!). 

2. It takes 40-50 gallons of sap to produce ONE gallon of syrup. That's a lot of evaporation that has to take place! Home based and smaller operations often use a wood fire to boil down the sap while larger operations use wood fired evaporators whose fires have to be stoked every few minutes. Larger operations can go through 10 or more cords of wood is a season!

3. Maple syrup production has gone high tech! We used to see buckets hanging from trees to collect the sap. Now, we are more likely to see plastic lines running though the woods and ending at a large collection tank. Several operations also use reverse osmosis machines to stop the back flow of sap from their lines. 

4. New York State is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. Vermont is ranked number one. If you want to explore the maple producers in NYS you have the opportunity on April 2-3 when many will host open houses and pancake breakfasts. Use www.mapleweekend.com to plan your visits!

5. We at Home Goods carry syrup from two producers - Sugar Mountain Maple and Tree Juice. Both are produced locally - and both are owned by Fairbairns who are distantly related!

Easter Eggstravaganza at Home Goods 3/26

Easter Eggstravaganza March 26 at Home Goods

Margaretville — Come join Lisa Scalf and create your own silk tie-dyed Easter Eggs on Saturday, March 26 from 1-3 p.m. at Home Goods of Margaretville.

This cool news twist on egg dying is fairly easy and Lisa is an awesome artist who will offer complete instructions. The process takes about 30-45 minutes from start to finish. All materials are provided, but a $5 donation is being asked to cover material costs. 

Each participant will create two of their own beautiful creations to take home and make a part of their Easter Egg Hunt.

Home Goods of Margaretville is located at784 Main Street, Margaretville. For additional information, please e-mail homegoods@catskill.net, call 845 586-4177 or visit: hgom.net

Our First Blog Post! A Q&A With Jess!

Why did you decide to open a business in the Catskills?

About 13 years ago, I was working in Washington DC - it was month six of living in cities, taking public transit every day and being surrounded by people. There was a sudden change in the weather bringing cool, fall like conditions (which doesn’t happen in DC in August) and I realized how much I missed home. I decided at that moment that I had to find a way to make a life in the Catskills. 

It was another ten years before I opened Home Goods of Margaretville, but I was living and working here doing environmental education. 

What was step one in making your dream come true? 

Step one was the former owner of our store deciding to retire and move to Massachusetts! 

Step two was all the typical business stuff - we have so many assets here to help you plan a business. I spoke to an advisor from the SBA (Small Business Administration) who helped me write and research a business plan. Talking to lawyers and banks and accountants and all the local alphabet soup organizations (CWC and MARK) to get everything set up. 

Compared to that, the painting (thanks to my family and friends), setting up the space (thanks to Gerry Murphy) and the ordering and unpacking (thanks to all the businesses on Main Street that accepted my packages) was relatively easy! 

What are your favorite things to do here (when you aren’t working)? 

So many things - reading a good book on my front porch. Hiking, cooking a delicious meal with local ingredients. Generally exploring the area with friends and family. My favorite thing this summer has been Pizza on the Farm at Lazy Crazy Acres. They make delicious wood fired pizza with all these outrageous and creative flavors. 
Name one thing you love about living and working upstate?

Honestly, I love the calm. Even on the crazy, busiest day people are generally nice. The Mountains really seem to bring out the best in people. 

What advice would you give to people who are beginning to dream about starting a business in the Catskills?

Sit down and talk with people - see what their needs and wants are and how you can fill them. There are so many different types of people who call this area home - the “locals,” the second home owners, the seasonal people and the tourists. They all have different needs but a successful business can have something for everyone!

Also, consistency is key. Be open when you say you are going to be open. No business can make money if they are never open. Consistency builds trust with your audience. 

Make sure you have a good online presence - Facebook, Instagram and a website are a start. Make sure people know how to find you - almost all business starts with a web search. If you’re not there, people can’t find you!