I love these top nine posts from Instagram. It’s cool to see the bike rack design from 2017 and then it in reality in 2018. Progress happens. Thanks to all my fab clients. Here’s to an amazing 2019! xo
Check out some of my fave Holiday design layouts I did this season! What’s your fave?? I think mine is the Stocking Stuffers layout. Happy Holidays. xo, Chris
Dave Pillard from Phoenicia’s very own Tender Land Home is a true Catskills visionary - selling amazing home and gift items long before the Brooklyn hipsters descended upon our quaint little community. Dave’s boutique has a gift for every occasion and he pretty much knows everything there is to know about Phoenicia and the Catskills. I’m happy to call him a good friend and my very first marketing client. Okay, let’s meet Dave...
What first brought you to the Catskills?
A friend. The singer Leslie Ritter, is a good friend of my former partner. We used to get away for weekends to see Les and hang out in the Catskills.
What inspired you to open Tender Land Home?
Like so many people who want to live full time in the Catskills I was looking for a job that could support me here. My then partner Bill Forbes had The Tender Land so when a space became available on Main Street in Phoenicia we figured let's open another store!
Tell us what the name means?
The name is based on Bill's favorite opera, The Tender Land by Aaron Copland. It's an appropriate name for the beautiful Catskill Mountains.
What are some of your top sellers?
Top sellers are jewelry, candles, kids merchandise and rugs.
How has the digital age affected your business?
The digital age has made it easier for people to purchase larger items online. I used to sell a lot more furniture. But now people can order sofas, chairs and tables online and have them delivered to their home. I adjusted to this by adding smaller, more unique items that can fit in the environment of a Catskills cabin or a Manhattan apartment.
How have you seen Phoenicia change over the years?
It's like the old saying that is something to the effect "everything is different and everything is the same." Phoenicia is still a really special place where everyone fits in. There's no pretense here - no struggle to live up to some kind of reputation. That is really great. And what's also really new and great is that a younger generation has discovered the beauty and charm of the Catskills and sings it praises.
When you’re not selling the best gifts ever, what do you do for fun?
For fun I like to work out - gym, swim, ride my bike, walk on the reservoir. My partner Robert Hessler and I love to binge watch series on Netflix or HBO - especially in winter (I'm also an admitted Real Housewives of New York and New Jersey junkie). I also love yard work - it's sort of a zen thing for me.
What are some of your fave places to grab a bite in the area?
We are blessed with great places to eat here! The burger and fries at Peekamoose are the bomb! Nobody does it better!! One slice of the chicken alfredo pizza at Brio's is a lunch in itself and I really dig their grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with apple and bacon. YUM! Sweet Sue's pancakes are still the best in the world!!!! Robin's homemade fudge at The Nest Egg is such a sinful treat. And I always love going to see Margaret at the Phoenicia Deli because she's so wonderful and also makes a wonderful sandwich. I could go on and on and on about the food around here!! LOL!!!
Do you have any advice or someone wanting to start their own business in the Phoenicia area?
Make your business plan and then throw it out the window!! The Catskills is such a quirky business environment that no matter what you plan for you're going to be thrown lots of curve balls that you didn't see coming. Doing business around here is like going for a roller coaster ride - you have to hold on tenaciously through the ups and downs. Put aside more money than you think you're going to need to get started (because guaranteed you'll need it) and in a few years you'll see the fruits of your labor.
Okay Dave… Time for the SPEED ROUND:
Fave Color: Blue
Fave Food: French Fries
Fave Book: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Fave Song: “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Fave Movie: A tie between The Wizard of Oz and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (but there's also Blade Runner and most of Stanley Kubrick's movies too.... Oh well)
Visit Dave at Tender Land Home, 64 Main St, Phoenicia, NY 12464
Chris Bick's Picks: The Best of Ulster County, Vol 1
Sweet Sue’s: 49 Main St, Phoenicia, NY 12464. Their hours might be early for those who like to sleep in on the weekends (Breakfast/Brunch only: Fri - Mon, 8am-1pm) but the food SERIOUSLY is well worth the early alarm call, trust me. Pancakes as big as your head crafted with Sue's secret recipe… 'Nuff said!
Hot Spot Yoga: 218 Plaza Rd, Kingston, NY 12401. Tucked in the elbow of the Kingston Plaza, this haven of heat (A Bikram Yoga series in a steamy 105° room) has been my ultimate savior for the past few years. Don’t miss their Black Light Class on Black Friday.
Uptown Coffee: 288 Wall St, Kingston, NY 12401. Truly the best chocolate chip cookies in the universe. I'm Cookie Monster so I know. Soft, warm and chocked full of melted chocolate chips. I could just go on and on... Oh, and I'm totally addicted to their coffee and relaxed vibe too!
Sacred Traditions Healing: 530 High Meadow Dr, Kerhonkson, NY 12446. Owners Tammi Price and Steeven Lall Price have created a gorgeous haven of healing and tranquility. Steeven’s “bone setter” massages are incredible and NOT for the faint of heart. Mind, body and spirit healing.
Tender Land Home: 64 Main St, Phoenicia, NY 12464. Store owner Dave Pillard is one of the sweetest, kindest and hottest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s stocked his store with great gifts, accessories and home decor items for every occasion. And if you want to know anything about the Catskills, just ask Dave… He knows!
Bluestone Basecamp: 4170 US-9W, Saugerties, NY 12477. Mark Dunbrack and Ryan Jennings have created this chic yet casual Bed and Breakfast in a beautifully restored brick manor. Downtown NYC LGBTQ performer Justin Vivian Bond is a besties of the guys and and frequent guest star at the basecamp.
Half Moon Books: 35 N Front St, Kingston, NY 12401. Need a book outlining the feminist philosophy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Just ask store owner Jessica DuPont… I’m sure it’s on her shelves! And who the heck does those amazing window displays?!?
Antique Barn at Water Street Market: 10 Main St # 501, New Paltz, NY 12561. Where else can you get lost in the various vintage worlds of the past and wind up with a box full of classic mid-century Christmas ornaments, a light up globe lamp and a mushroom yard sculpture... All before 11am?
Woodstock Playhouse: 103 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498
I think it’s amazing that we can live this far out in the country and still have such talented performers entertain us with incredible Broadway standards. When I saw Spring Awakening there, it changed my life... Forever!
Old Dutch Church: 272 Wall St, Kingston, NY 12401. I love this place. The history, the architecture, the steeple, the catacombs, the gravestones… They’re all symbolic of the rich history we have here in Ulster County. I also love the spooky stories they tell in the graveyard at Halloween time. A total treasure.
ABOUT ME: Hi, I’m Chris Bick, the owner of Pioneer Agency in Kingston, NY. Hope you enjoyed my list. I do marketing, social media, web development, retail window display installations and architectural drafting. I know, it’s a wide array of services but I love the variety. I owned a successful online store in NYC for over 15 years but wanted something more… A quieter life surrounded by nature and authenticity. Hence Ulster County. Now I live in Mt Tremper with my 2 cats Charlie and Vern and I thoroughly enjoy using my marketing experience to help small Hudson Valley businesses fulfill their dreams. You can catch me this fall playing the Subway Ghost at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck's adaptation of Ghost The Musical.
It's weeks over now, but I wanted to show you a portion of the poster I designed for Onteora High School's production of Les Misérables. I did not do the drawing tho... I had one of the students in the cast draw that for me! #LesMiserables #HighSchoolMusical