As I sit behind the counter of our shop day after day looking out the window onto Main Street, I wonder, “Where are all the people?” Aside from 3rd Fridays and “good weather” weekends, it seems that people aren’t taking advantage of all that Main Street has to offer.
Parking has always been an issue for Tarrytown.
Rebecca McNally, Julian Mueller, Michael Mauguin, Quinn Mueller
– is that the problem? I know there are always spaces on a weekday, unless there’s a big event at the Music Hall. Maybe the locals do most of their shopping after work and on weekends. If so, they likely face the challenge of finding a space not occupied by a resident or theater-goer. Perhaps it’s just easier to hop in the car and head to the Westchester Mall or shop online?
Despite our opening nineteen days after 9/11, we’ve seen great change on Main Street. We had high hopes of being part of the revitalization of our historic downtown. The goal was to become a place where locals could find everything they needed within a two-block radius: the art, culture and cuisine of our quaint Village would attract visitors. My observation is that even though “we have built it‚Ä¶they still haven’t come.”
There are a hundred reasons why a retail store does or doesn’t succeed long-term. In evaluating what has kept us from building our business, we have identified several major issues: location, baby/kids market saturation, and perhaps “perception.” Customers may have perceived us as a “high end” gift store. Through the years we listened to our customers, we repositioned and changed to meet their needs. Last year we expanded our children’s gifts under $25 to broaden our customer base – still the foot traffic has not improved.
Our decision to close this Fall was an agonizing one. We love our business and our customers but, frankly, it’s at a point that despite all the money, effort and time we invest, there is very limited return. We often joke among ourselves that we are providing “community service” by maintaining the store. This should tell you something of our passion for our business and our Village.
Our hope is that Main Street will continue to flourish and great success will come for all the hard-working merchants in the downtown area. To support their effort, it’s necessary for the Village to work with the Merchants Council to solve this parking problem once and for all and look for new ways to promote tourism.
Since our announcement to close, our customers have flooded the store asking “Why?”
We hope this article provides answers to their questions.
A sincere thanks to Chamber President Joanne Murray and Katherine Swibold for always going to bat for the merchants, to Jen Ross, Fiona Galloway and the Tarrytown Recreation Department for their contributions to 3rd Friday. A tremendous thanks to our most loyal customers and employees who supported us for seven years – you know who you are!
We would also like to express a special thank you to our families. Our Mom for her countless hours of hard work and babysitting services, our Dad for his many trips to FedEx, and to our husbands and children who have been there to support us through the demands of owning our own business. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Stop in to say good-bye and shop storewide sales during the month of October!
Michele Mauguin is a lifetime resident of Tarrytown.