Q: Hi Suzi – thanks for chatting with us! Let’s kick this Q&A off with a little blurb all about you…
A: I’m a Montana girl living in New England. My husband and I live in Hanover, NH and are raising two girls and two dogs. Our oldest daughter will be graduating next year and our youngest goes to a ski academy in Vermont.
I’ve been working in the retail industry as a sales rep for the past 25 years and have always dreamed of owning my own store.
Woodstock is one of the most beautiful towns so when the space came available, I knew it was time to make it happen.
Q: When do you expect Woody’s Mercantile to be open for business – and what will customers find when they step inside the threshold at 7 Central Street?
A: July 1st!
When customers step inside, my hope is that they will find a store that is full of beautiful, fun products at all price points made from artisans from around the world. It is very important to me that the store is unique and complements the other retail shops of Woodstock.
Q: If you could distill the personality of Woody’s in one sentence, what would it be?
A: Mountain lifestyle store specializing in gifts, home goods, provisions, and candy.
Q: As the founder of The Curtis Group, a sales agency with clients from the active lifestyle space, what motivated you to open your own brick and mortar store?
A: I’ve been exposed to various types of retail in everything from seasonal seaside shops to ski shops and even large, multi-location retailers. It has motivated me to try something on my own to create a unique experience for customers, as well as offering items you can’t find on the internet.
I’ve worked with many of the Woodstock store owners for years and some have become dear friends. New or old relationships, the store owners have welcomed me with open arms and have been very supportive and helpful. We already have ideas on events we’d like to hold together.
Q: Taking it a step further, what brought Woody’s Mercantile to Woodstock after its beginnings as a pop-up shop in Etna, NH?
A: Originally, I was going to open in downtown Hanover in the building that formerly housed the Dartmouth Bookstore. Construction delays meant that I was going to miss the prime fall selling season for Hanover - college weekends, football games and fall foliage.
I didn’t want to chance it, so I decided to wait and look for a new location. Fortunately, I made the right decision because who would have guessed this whole Covid-19 thing would happen. The high rents in Hanover and the sporadic traffic require either deep pockets or the perfect timing in order to succeed as a retailer.
Q: You’re renovating a historic retail space in downtown Woodstock, previously the home of Whippletree Yarn Shop since 1966. We’re loving what you’ve done to restore the exterior, but we’re itching to get a glimpse inside! Can you share details on the interior aesthetic you’re going for and how you’re honoring the space’s history?
A: I knew when I saw the shop that it was perfect. I’m constantly thinking, “if these walls could talk.” The building, the windows, the details all have so much character and I wanted to maintain that look and feel.
Once we jumped into the renovations, we peeled back even more treasures such as exposed brick, plaster walls and a slatted ceiling. We are so proud of the interior and how it has turned out - it is in keeping with the rest of the building.
Q: Like most small businesses, you’ve been thrown a curveball with COVID-19. How has the outbreak affected your plans and how can people support Woody’s?
A: Well, like most of us, the Covid-19 has been a setback but it has also allowed me to get prepared for the opening of the store. I can feel the support and enthusiasm from people walking by the shop or just poking their heads in to introduce themselves. Shopping local is critical for everyone - the local businesses as well as the fabric of the town.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as a Central Street shop owner?
A: I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the Woodstock community - getting to know the locals, the tourists and most importantly, their dogs.