Clove & Creek, a home goods and gift shop in Kingston, started as a pop-up project between friends, Scott Neild and Michael Cook. With complementary design tastes and Inspired by upstate New York artists and makers, Scott and Michael moved Clove & Creek into a permanent space in 2016. The shop is located in Downtown Kingston, on a stretch of Broadway that is home to an inspiring community of creative shopkeepers. (Read more on our Going Places: Kingston)
Who designed Clove & Creek? We did! We’ve relied upon the expertise of Milne Antiques in Kingston to help us furnish the store.
Is the a story behind the name? Clove is borrowed from the original Dutch word, kloof, meaning a narrow valley with steep sides. We chose a name that referred to the area’s past and present experience in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.
What are your best-sellers? People really love the products that we’ve designed ourselves including our full line of apothecary, in collaboration with Heaven on Main St, our line of scented candles, in collaboration with Hudson Moon Candles, and our wood fired maple syrup harvested at Bovina Valley Farms. And people love our cold brew, served in the store, using Parlor Coffee’s Prospect Blend.
Where do you source your products? Finding new products is, creepily, always in the back of our minds – we find things on our travels, through friends, visiting other people’s homes and on Instagram.
What makes your shop unique? We really try to make people feel at home from the moment they walk in the shop. Coffee is part of that equation. We both spent years in restaurant hospitality and that mentality is really applied in the shop. Yes, we have our own vision for things, but at the end of the day, we want the shop to be a dialogue with – a response to our community.
Who are your customers? A really fun mix of the lucky people who call the Hudson Valley and Catskills home, boaters anchoring in the Rondout marinas, weekenders, fall foliage folk, groups here for weddings – it’s a diverse group of people who love Upstate and are generally looking to hit reset on their busy lives.
How has the internet impacted your business? Still working on that one – telling our story online is just a totally different process and experience – one that we’re really just starting to figure out.
Clove & Creek shopkeepers, Scott Neild and Michael Cook, stand outside of their first pop up market at Table on Ten in 2015.
Photo courtesy And North.
Who inspires you? We’re inspired by working artists: the crazy people with a vision who work tirelessly to express themselves and create beauty – often for little acknowledgement or profit. They’re the change makers.
What inspires you? Desert life, porch life, mountain life, boat life, cabin life, beach life, city life, farm life, island life. Currently obsessed with our Rondout neighborhood – it’s like a bohemian mix of Laurel Canyon (the hippie kind) and New Orleans…best explored on foot. Restaurants and food is probably what we talk about most…little cafes with distinct personality is where we recharge and rethink. Theatre and art are perennial points of inspiration.
Before we were shopkeepers… Michael is a fashion stylist and Scott was an event planner. And before that, we both met doing musical theatre – but that’s another story.
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? How to be vulnerable and open all day and still have something left for yourself and your friends at the end of it.
What task do you like to delegate? Price tags, graphic design and plant maintenance.
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? Trust your instincts!
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Nothing is ever perfect, so just let the process be on display – people want to be part of the story, not just read to.
Which famous person would you like to visit your shop? Only 1? Scott: I served Meryl Streep once, I’d like a do over. Michael: If I had to pick just one I think I’d have to go with one of the old Grand Dames like Liza – although I’m not sure we have enough glitter in the shop for her.
If you weren’t shopkeepers you would be..? Scott: I honestly don’t know – I’m smack dab where I should be right now. But I hope to, one day, travel a lot more! Michael: In my fantasy world I think I’d be some sort of bohemian holed up in Morocco somewhere swathed in fabrics and incense.
What is your perfect day off? Scott: Coffee, Internet black holes, calling mom and best friends in Chicago. Hammock time (nap) or snuggles with my dog, Jasper. Meet up with one or two people for a walk or late (wine) lunch. Go to a movie I know nothing about (by myself) (medium popcorn and large diet pepsi). Michael: A bit of everything – good food, good art, good music, good drinks, nature, good friends and a fire pit.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant? Brunette Wine Bar – we go there for the wine AND the food – all of it.
On The Future of Retail
“Seems like brick and mortar shops like ours will be as much about the inspiration and entertainment we can provide as the products we sell. It’s all about the stories we tell and share. In this digital age, people are hungry for experiences and one of the new roles of retail is to not only provide product, but experience.”
73 Broadway, Kingston, NY