Home Goods has new owners
By Brian Sweeney
Fans of longtime village anchor store Home Goods of Margaretville were understandably disappointed when former owner Dorothy Maffei decided to close up shop after 18 years and move on to a new phase in her life.
Fortunately, one of the store’s part-time sales associates shared Dorothy’s passion for the store and has completed a purchase agreement to carry on the store’s name and traditions.
The original Home Goods of Margaretville shut its doors in February. The “new” store with the same moniker opened on May 3 under the ownership of Jess and Jake Olenych.
Jess said the basic goal is to continue the outstanding customer service and quality products that made the original store a success. At the same time, the new proprietors want to put their own unique stamp on the business.
One thing that’s changed is Home Goods of Margaretville is now located at 784 Main Street (at the intersection with Bridge Street).
“Taking over Home Goods was a huge decision for us,” Jess explained. “The opportunity to move the store to this highly visible location made tremendous sense. This is such a great space with the high ceilings, large display windows and the brick walls that add a lot of warmth and character. It’s such a charming old building,” she commented.
Jess is planning a weekend-long grand opening celebration from Friday-Monday, May 23-26 with free refreshments available and a chance for visitors to enter drawings for several prizes.
The store has been operating primarily on weekends throughout May as Jess has fulfilled obligations in her other business, Common Ground Educational Consulting. Since graduating from Elmira College in 2004, she has worked in the field of environmental education — assisting students from upstate and downstate in learning about the New York City watershed.
Jess said she gets great satisfaction from her environmental educational career and plans to continue this work on a part-time basis, but her primary focus will be building upon the Home Goods of Margaretville tradition.
Her interest in cooking was fostered at a young age when Jess’s mother worked at the former Rudi’s Big Indian (now Peekamoose) restaurant, as part of the wait staff and as the baker.
“I grew up around passionate cooks at the restaurant and I later worked at the Cheese Barrel and at the Café on Main,” she recalled.
Jess naturally gravitated towards cooking and baking at a young age and remains a passionate cook in her own right.
In a romantic twist to this tale, Jess recalled that when she and Jake were dating, they would make weekly visits to Home Goods to buy items in anticipation of purchasing their first house. The tradition continued after they were married and now their Arkville home is well stocked with items from the store.
Jess became even more familiar with Home Goods when she and Dorothy began working together on flood relief efforts following Hurricane Irene.
“Dorothy and I became good friends during this time and I also started filling in at the store. I realized how much I loved the business and the people and it just kind of became a natural progression,” she explained.
Jess said that she and Jake first began considering taking over the operation last fall, when Dorothy started talking about retiring.
“I started tossing around the idea of buying the store to family and friends and everybody thought it was a pretty good one,” she recalled.
“We’re both really committed to this place. Jake works in a family-run company (Mountain Flame in Arkville) and we feel that businesses such as these really help define small communities,” Jess pointed out.
“Dorothy did the hard work in creating the need for this type of business in the community. We hope to continue her legacy and eventually add elements like bridal registries, cooking classes and product demos,” she noted.
Describing the everyday selection for those not familiar with Home Goods of Margaretville, Jess said the store features “a diverse array of items for the kitchen and home, as well as assorted gifts in every price range. We also try to have a variety of local handmade products.”
Jess said she’s also pleased to special order products for customers.
Hours at Home Goods of Margaretville are currently Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday from11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Hours will be expanding when summer arrives. For more information, please call 845 586-4177, e-mail email@example.com or visit: hgom.com.
Editor’s note: Jess Olenych is the daughter of Catskill Mountain News columnist and reporter Brian Sweeney.