Two friends have teamed up to put their passion, expertise and craftsmanship to work at the recently opened Poverty Barn at 1 Old Route 299 in New Paltz. Heather McGill, a New Paltz High School graduate, and her pal in all things shabby/chic, Nancy Stonecypher, have created, in less than two months, a hot spot and following for those who love refurbished, repainted, solid furniture and fixtures at a reasonable price.
Their space is airy, light, filled with beauty, creativity, the feeling of things being reborn and most of all friendliness and comfort. What sets the Poverty Barn apart is that it showcases repainted and refurbished solid pieces of furniture, lamps, benches et cetera that have the space to breathe, the craftsmanship put in, the artistic flair and the air of something new.
McGill had never dreamed of owning her own store. She was content buying beautiful pieces of old furniture, rehabbing them, painting or distressing them with her own vision and selling them at various flea markets, farmers’ markets, wherever she was wanted. And she was in high demand to offset the less-than-honest flea market dealers trying to sell junk for more than they paid for it, or used clothing that cost more than it did in a store.
“One customer said to me at a flea market that I needed to open my own store and call it the Poverty Barn,” recalled McGill. “Only three months later, here we are! This was not on my bucket list.”
She and Stonecypher had been friends for ten years, and when they crossed paths at the Milton Farmers’ Market, Nancy told her, “If you ever decide to open up a store, call me! I’m in.”
Stonecypher had been working for 30 years as a stagehand, commuting from Milton to Long Island, New York City and New Jersey for her career. She is also an artist and spent any downtime working on her paintings. That said, she always had a love for finding furniture and three-dimensional objects of good quality and making them become alive and attractive again.
When McGill gave her the call, she was there and said that she was so “relieved that Heather brought me back into my passion. I love this! There’s so much gratification when a customer tells you that they love a piece but want to see it painted or decorated in a certain way, or you find a piece that you know has stood the test of time and put your elbow grease into it, fix every drawer, knob and footing, refurnish it, paint it and within an hour of it being in the shop, it’s sold!”
What’s hot right now is distressed ivory-and-black furniture, as well as old TV cabinets that have been discarded because of the newer large flat-screen TVs. The two owners are busy converting older TV cabinets into much-need armoires and low-lying dressers into platforms for the newer, larger TVs. “What I love about this is that we’re both functional and aesthetic. In this economy, what moves is what is needed; and we add a low-price aesthetic quality to each piece.”
What makes the Poverty Barn exceptional is not only the quality and affordability of its items, but also the welcoming, casual, friendly atmosphere. At the Poverty Barn, customers browse, chat, sit down, share stories and become part of the fabric that has made this newly opened store so successful. There are days where they can’t fill the store because they’ve sold out of everything, but they keep looking, buying, refurbishing, repainting, adding their unique styles to every solid piece that they present.
To learn more, go to their Facebook page at Poverty Barn or call McGill at (845) 764-1649. The store is open from Wednesday to Sunday, but with special appointments on Monday and Tuesday.