Hammertown Blog - TAKING “COMMUNITY-MINDED” TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

Pine Plains Emporium

The Emporium sits almost directly across the street from the Pine Plains Platter.  The 1879 building is the exact location of the original Chase Dry Goods General store which was a key in Pine Plains’ town center.

Jack and Irene’s most recent project — the Pine Plains Emporium — had its Grand Opening this past Memorial Day.

On the heels of the opening of the Pine Plains Laundromat, Irene and Jack purchased the building that now houses the Pine Plains Emporium as well as a barbershop. Their intent is to honor the history of the building and to make the Emporium a place to find everyday necessities and interesting merchandise for locals and visitors alike.”

The Emporium, much like the original Chase General store, has an incredibly diverse selection of merchandise.  And it just feels “fun” when you walk in…I flashed back to the old “dime stores” and hardware stores of my childhood that had everything you could imagine in them.

Apparel (Carhartt Jeans & Muck Boots), Yankees and Red Sox autographed baseballs and bats, kitchen gadgets & supplies, gardening supplies, fishing lures, sporting goods, yarn and notions, old local postcards, stationery, jigsaw puzzles, “penny” candy, select antique wooden objects and vintage advertising signs are displayed in a way that gives the shop a sense of the space’s history.  Credit for that goes to creative consultant & vintage photograph collector and curator, Susan Burks, who has known Jack and Irene for over 25 years. 

Jack and Irene’s own line of Black Sheep Hill custom body care products as well as a freezer case of Black Sheep Hill meat products are also a great addition.  When we visited the store, it was clear that Jack and Irene are really involved in the operation.  Jack was visiting with customers…Irene was stocking the notions section with new merchandise…they were working in their own store and really enjoying it.

General Manager of the Emporium, is another “hometown girl”, Torey Soracco.  Torey’s background in retail work — including owning and running the bike shop on the Rail Trail in Millerton (and incidentally, a management position at Hammertown years ago) — made her the perfect candidate for the job.

Torey Soracco behind the counter at The Pine Plains Emporium.

Torey Soracco behind the counter at The Pine Plains Emporium.

Ironically, Jack found Torey through a conversation Susan Burks had at The Platter one day.  Torey’s Mom happened to be there when Susan was talking about looking for some retail advice for the new Emporium.  Torey’s mom told Susan her daughter may have some good ideas and she gave Torey’s number to Susan, and Susan passed her number on to Jack.  After a couple conversations with Jack and Irene, Torey finally realized they weren’t just looking for ideas, they were looking to hire someone…and Torey happily found herself Manager of this new venture in her own home town!

Both Joan and I loved the feel of the store.  Joan was especially impressed with the design and layout of the space and the merchandise.

Happily, it looks like the Emporium is off to a good start.  The shop was busy with local customers and visitors from other areas when we were there.  During the Memorial Day Grand Opening, there were “Pine Plains” T-Shirts for sale at the Emporium.   They ran out of them before the weekend was over!

In fact, one of the most satisfying comments Jack said he’s received since opening the Emporium was from a local Pine Plains citizen.   “Where are the T-Shirts?” she said.  “Which T-Shirts?”, he asked.   She responded “I want one of those Pine Plains T-shirts…I’m so proud to live here now!”

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