A while ago I asked Ruthie Bontecou to write something or share your efforts to improve Millbrook. She’s been traveling and busy I guess so I’m going to take a stab at firing a few shots about the town’s retail situation. Can you stab and fire shots at the same time. Just accept it for now!
Not so long ago Millbrook had a wonderful general store with good quality merchandise,, clothes, gifts, baby things and was a wonderful anchor for the corner when you entered the town. The corner store was always popular. You could get magazines, newspapers, develop film, make copies, and get coffee. It was popular and always had customers. In addition to Reardon Briggs there was another hardware store where the antique mall was, a busy deli across from the Corner Store, a fancy restaurant, Daniele’s for special occasions, and even further back a movie theater where the Agway is now.
Usually when a town has retail problems it is because of a new retail mall along the highway but that is not the case with Millbrook. With Poughkeepsie for example the malls along Route 9 sucked all the life out of the city and the arterial finished the job. In Millbrook it seems to me we still have a chance. If we look for a villain who will remain nameless the general store closed because the building was sold and the new owner decided to raise the rent to a level the tenant could no longer afford. It stood vacant for a long time until it was occupied by an art gallery which was owned by a convicted felon, some wonderful addition to the town.
Some of the problem is the fact that many of the owners of property who have purchased their farms in the last ten years are less interested in the services that the town provides. Then why is Rhinebeck thriving and Millbrook retail is moribund? I’m not sure I have the answers but Ruthie Bontecou has put together a group to study and hopefully improve the life of the town. I will say that we have Les Beaux which is a good reliable French restaurant and of course the Millbrook Diner and Reardon Briggs. Hopefully they are doing well enough to survive.
How about a small movie theater like Rhinebeck? How about some small merchants who are selling something other than real estate.
There you have my rant. I solicit ideas which I would be happy to post here.