Red Hook Emporium steps back in time

In August 2011, Amanda Bodian, proprietor of The Red Hook Emporium in the Village of Red Hook, teamed up with the newly established Red Hook Community Arts Network to hold a weekend exhibition of local crafts, food and culture, including a performance by Tangent Arts of Tivoli and book readings by a number of local authors.

The empty building complex on Route 9 she used was the historic “Old Soap Factory,” one of Red Hook’s landmarks. And the exhibition, a stunning visual display. offered a peek at what the Red Hook Emporium is today.

Today, the Emporium, a “multi-dealer shop,” places emphasis on selling inexpensive art and antiques — and some of the prices may make you feel as if you have stepped far back in time.

A book of English cartoons from the 1960’s might catch your eye in one stall, and then a beautifully crafted oak bowl that might have been made yesterday by local artist Phil Meldren. You will also have to follow your nose to a display of essential oils and perfumes, but first you might be tempted to try on the unique vest made from ties created by artist/designer Janet Jappen.

“The Emporium is the place to be,” said Jappen. “We’re all enjoying working with each other and we have a good time. Jennifer [Kishbaugh] , the manager, is the key to what it is. Her energy and vision is catching. The whole place came together in a year.”

Kishbaugh certainly does have an interesting job as she ably assists Bodian in keeping the operation running smoothly. “When we first opened,” she said, “our customers really were the ones who came up with our tag line: ‘Something For Everyone.’”

There are currently 31 members who pay rent month-to-month based on the square footage of their display area. “We can help people go into business who could not otherwise do it,” Bodian explained. “We take care of everything: heat, lights, WiFi, advertising.”

In addition to the Emporium’s newsletter and joining the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce, Amanda’s networking ideas also includes her introduction of a free fold-up area map featuring points of interest in nine towns. That came about as a result of her thinking about how to draw people to the venue and the area in general.

“We realized that many towns have tourist maps, but not us, and my husband, Mitch, said ‘You can do that,’” she recalled.

Bodian contacted Berkshire Maps, who have been in this business for many years, and had 60,000 maps printed. They are distributed widely in the mid-Hudson Valley, and she is especially pleased that they are prominently displayed at the Amtrak station in Rhinecliff.

Amanda Bodian would like the next step forward for The Emporium to be an on-line shopping presence to even better represent the vendors. “What’s good for us is good for the community. Red Hook has so much to offer,” she said.

Red Hook Emporium
7392 South Broadway, Red Hook
Open Thurs.-Mon. (May-December) and Thurs. to Sun. (Jan.-April)
Hours: 11am-5pm.

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