Summer may not officially be here until June 21, but Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the season in the Catskills. In the town of Andes, on Route 28 in Delaware County, three new business ventures are debuting this weekend. We stopped in at each to take a look.
Tay Tea Bar and Living Tree Botanicals Beauty Bar at Tay Home
Nini Ordoubadi, proprietor of artisanal tea company Tay Tea, is opening a tea bar in her second-floor store on Main Street today, featuring tea-infused recipes whipped up by Lucky Dog Farm Cafe down the road in Hamden. Joining her in the space is Living Tree Botanicals, a holistic cosmetics company owned by Erin Van Cott that is making its retail debut today as well, with an in-store boutique next to the tea bar. We stopped in yesterday as Nini and Erin were putting the final touches on their wares, which are displayed on custom wooden countertops specially made for them by Una-Lam, a wood products company located in nearby Sidney. The busy ladies graciously paused to let us sample A Day in Provence, a very red and fruity rooibos tea. More tea and comestibles will be served tonight during an opening party for the new ventures from 4pm to 7pm. 72 Main St.
The Catskill Collection at Blink
Smack dab in the middle of Andes, where Route 28 makes a 90-degree turn towards Delhi, the Blink Gallery's large black-and-white sign greets everyone who comes through town. On Sunday, Blink will become home to the jewelry, clothing, art, and home goods boutique called the Catskill Collection at Blink, run by Letty Johnson and her husband, Randall Johnson, both of whom have long experience in the fashion and jewelry industries. (Letty also works full-time as the procurement officer for CitiHope, which is headquartered right down the street.) Randall, also a collage artist, plans to host what he calls the Collage Collage -- classes in his collage technique -- in the space upstairs from the boutique. Yesterday, the windows of Blink were still covered with brown paper as the Johnsons were transforming the space with their large and airy displays, which feature hand-dyed straw hats, handbags, chunky necklaces, and wall-mounted collage pieces in brilliant colors. They plan to be open tomorrow at noon, and then "Andes hours" -- Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm -- for the rest of the summer. 454 Lower Main St.
Garnette Arledge's hand-picked selection of used books will go on sale today at Andes Books, located across the street from the library in Andes. The store's brand-new porchfront sign went up yesterday -- and since we're Arledge's upstairs neighbors at 295 Main St., we helped hoist it. Arledge, a longtime writer and author, has set up the store like a cozy living room, with sofas and a nook for kids. She'll be hosting reading and writing groups at the shop as well. (Jane Austen fans, clear your Thursday afternoons.) Stop by the shop, which sells everything from literature to mysteries to children's books, after the Andes parade on Monday for its "soft launch" celebration, which will feature home-cooked food and a bring-a-book, take-a-book swap. 295 Main St.