Roxbury General Store opens to appreciative neighbors
By Cheryl Petersen
A general store replete with practical, striking, and lovely items for sale to the public held its opening day Saturday. Paper lining the store-front windows came down and the doors opened. “The store is a wonderful addition to Roxbury,” said Helen Faraci, a lifelong resident.
Doug McLaurine and his wife, Robin Factor, started vacationing in Roxbury five years ago. “We then purchased a home three years ago,” said Robin. “And from that point they pondered the presence of a general store in the area.” The family had fun with the idea, developing it, even attending local events with cards for people to fill out. “We asked them to write down on the cards what they’d like to see if a general store was in Roxbury,” added Factor.
Last August, Doug retired from his publishing career in the city. “He was retired 10 minutes and said, ‘Okay, let’s open the store,’” said Factor. They contacted building owner Lewis Wendell, who had been renovating the space at 53538 Highway 30 for a couple of years. “This was the place to lease for the store,” said Factor. “Lewis has done a phenomenal job restoring.”
The store has two levels, four steps lead up to the second level, giving a feel of continuity yet diversity.
A little of everything
“Merchandise available in the store is a nice mix of items for everyone in this diverse area,” said Noah McLaurine, son of Doug and Robin. “A farmer can pop in for Hanes socks and t-shirts, and a person can also come in for a high-end shirt and tie.”
Noah and his sister, Dara, and Noah’s girlfriend, Suzanna Finley, are participants in the family general store. “Mom and dad do most of the work though,” said Noah, who had to be prompted to talk about the notable photography hanging on the walls. Framed photos, 30 by 40 inches catch the attention. Noah is finishing his Master’s Degree at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He is the source of the photos.
“Ever since our family started coming up here, the Catskills have inspired me in photography,” said Noah. The current photos for sale were taken after Hurricane Irene. “The twisted railroad tracks were one of my favorite, showing the force of nature,” said McLaurine, who uses a digital camera and prints the photos himself at school.
In the middle of the store, hanging from the intricate ceiling is a giant paper light. “I found it online,” said Robin. “It was exactly what I had in mind, a gorgeous light.” Giving off the aura of encirclement, the light shines on jewelry, pottery, dry foodstuff, home décor, and clothing all around. “The items are either locally made or made in the United States,” added Factor.
Upstairs accommodates children’s wear and toys on one side of the space and hardware on the other. Skiers can pick up warmers or customers can get batteries or dog treats. As for the children, the toys are educational and the clothing is original. There is also a space for children to read while parents shop, complete with a large chalk board on the wall for drawing.
A little history has been uncovered in the process of opening the store. “This space use to be a general store a century ago,” said Factor.
“In our reading of history, we discovered the first owner ran the store for 75 years and then his son took over for about another 25 years. After closing, it was apparently open as a gallery for a while.”
“The community has been very supportive,” said Noah. The night before opening day, a group of approximately 50 people came in for a preview and wine and cheese party. “The welcoming has been nice, it’s no wonder our family fell in love with Roxbury.”