Clove & Creek: A Mercantile Inspired by the Local Landscape in Kingston, NY
73 Broadway | Kingston, NY
This spring, there is no better time to explore Kingston’s Rondout, a picturesque waterfront neighborhood packed with centuries-old architecture, galleries, restaurants, and shops. A stroll along Broadway, the wide thoroughfare sweeping downhill to the marinas of Rondout Creek, will be the best way to discover the growing number of small businesses that have been opening up on this historic city stretch. One such business is Clove & Creek, a charming mercantile offering locally-made home goods and gifts inspired by the area’s natural beauty. Neighbored by upstate gems such as Kingston Wine Co., Brunette, Jay Teske Leather Co., and sharing an entryway with floral shop Hops Petunia, the shop is a sunlit trove of hand-picked wares all beautifully splayed across rustic shelves and tables. An in-store coffee bar, which includes hot and iced brew from Brooklyn-based Parlor Coffee, is an intentional part of the retail experience and just one example of how best friends and business partners Michael Cook and Scott Neild are helping to facilitate conversation and community engagement.
“Kingston is the type of place where there is a bit of magic in the air, drawing artists and makers and dreamers from all over,” says Michael, a freelance stylist who splits his time between the store and his job as a fashion market editor at Out Magazine. “Like New York City, it’s a brilliant mix of all these different types of people, and what they bring to the table creates this fantastic landscape we get to call home.”
Clove & Creek is a heartfelt reflection of that landscape, featuring everything from Upstate Stock mohair hats and gloves, to Pratt + Hebert cups and mugs, to fragrant bundles of sage by Amoona Botanicals. A west coast collection has even made its way to The ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles. “We select things we would want to put in our own houses — objects that tell a story and have a natural, earthy, and timeless quality to them,” says Scott, a former event planner who found the creative reboot he was looking for up in the mountains. “It’s an exciting time in that there’s potential for this neighborhood to grow in a really amazing way. It has a history, it’s beautiful, and it’s bringing cool, interesting, and artistic people here.”
After debuting pop-ups last year at café restaurant Table On Ten in Bloomville and Bushel Collective, a mixed-use gallery space in Delhi, the guys quickly amassed a loyal following and that’s when they began playing with the idea of a more permanent home. “We drank a bottle of bourbon one night and filed for an LLC,” Michael laughs.
“People seek connection and an experience,” says Michael, “and we want to give them that. We definitely have dreams of expanding our coffee program, but for now, we really like that you can come in, grab a cup of coffee and just be in the space. It’s been a great way to interact with customers.” Shoppers can pair their brew with FINE & RAW, a Brooklyn chocolatier known for their delicious small-batch artisan treats. In nice weather, there is an outdoor bench custom built by Bovina artist A.J.Mason that is perfect for lingering awhile.
L’ouvrière beeswax candles, hand poured and finished in the hills of Charlotte Valley, NY, hang from the shop’s walls.
The two have been collaborating with Taylor Foster, founder of Bovina-based skincare line Heaven on Main Street, to develop their own line of Clove & Creek beauty products, including a body scrub, bath salts, cleansers, and body oils. “Taylor is wonderfully passionate about creating products that are not only natural and respectful of the earth, but also incredibly good for the skin,” says Michael.
Designer Sara Berks of MINNA Goods, a home textile brand with a studio in Red Hook, NY, partners with master weavers and artisan collectives across Central and South America to create gorgeous geometric pillows, rugs, and throws. “MINNA Goods really struck us with its unique visual voice,” says Scott, “and in so many ways, embodies what we look for in products we stock: useful, beautiful, well designed, and comfortable.”
“We’ve had people make the drive to visit because they followed us on Instagram, or want to buy something because they saw it in a photo. I think Instagram is changing the way we shop,” says Michael, noting the popularity of their goat milk Olsen soaps, made nearby at Olsen Family Farm in Saugerties.
A constant rotation of exhibitions from local artists inspire celebratory gatherings, a great way to see friends, meet and greet with neighbors, and interact with newcomers. Coming up on April 1st, the shop will host the art show opening of Steven Weinberg’s “I Caught All these Fish,” a collection of watercolors depicting the Catskills’ most loved and beautiful fish. Steven, an avid fly fisher and the other half of Spruceton Inn, is an accomplished illustrator whose published works include Beard Boy, You Must Be This Tall and Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! His whimsical trout paintings, on display through July 1st, will be a lovely complement to the space.
Coming up on a year since opening, Michael and Scott continue to scout out their very favorite makers to showcase. “One of our newest ceramists, Lail Design, feels so fresh and fun — they’ve been the perfect addition to the shop as we jump into a new season,” says Scott.