Home Goods to close after a fabulous and fabled 18-year run
By Brian Sweeney
Dorothy Maffei, who has operated Home Goods of Margaretville for nearly 18 years, has announced that she is retiring from the business.
Dorothy recently sent the news of the store’s closing to her patron list. She is currently selling out remaining stock and the last day of her operating the store will be Sunday, Feb. 2. The shop owner is planning to relocate to Massachusetts, but said she’s hopeful that arrangements will be finalized to transfer ownership of the store.
Home Goods of Margaretville, located at the back of the Commons Building, has become one of the village’s longest-tenured businesses.
“I’m so gratified and sad,” Dorothy told the News in response to her leaving the store that she founded.
When she began telling people that she was leaving the area and closing the store, Dorothy said the response from other business owners and customers has been overwhelming. She’s planning an open house at the store on February 22 from 4-7 p.m. to thank everyone for their support.
“I didn’t know what to expect. Most people were so nice. People cried. I feel so guilty,” she commented.
A tough choice
Since her store has become a focal point in the village, Dorothy said the decision to close was a difficult one, but she feels the time is right. The move to Great Barrington, she said, will allow her to live in a thriving arts community.
“I want to do theater again (her profession for 20-plus years in New York City before she moved to the Catskills) and I also want to get involved in the mental health field,” Dorothy explained.
Relocating to Massachusetts is a good spot for her to pursue those goals, she said, and it’s also a place where she has family ties.
The move, she admits, will be hard after having established her life in the Catskills. Dorothy recalled that she originally bought a weekend house in the region as a central point between NYC and her family in Syracuse.
Soon after buying her home, Dorothy began spending more time locally to help take care of her aging parents. It didn’t take long before she realized that rural life agreed with her and she made the move to New Kingston full-time, leaving behind her job as managing director at Second Stage Theater.
She eventually held jobs with PACT Training, the NYS Council on the Arts Regional Arts Partnership and served as Tourism Promotion Agent for Delaware County. She was also influential in establishing the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market. Through her various positions, Dorothy got to know many people and her thoughts eventually turned to ideas for making a living working for herself.
“Everybody told me I was out of my mind (when I said I wanted to open a kitchen store). I didn’t even know what I was doing,” she laughed.
She borrowed some money from friends, maxed out her credit cards and a longtime friend, Ron VanLieu, helped fill her large store with items from his antique collection to compliment the kitchen-related items. Home Goods of Margaretville was born.
On the job training
While she had a passion for cooking, Dorothy was still learning on the job about her products and the best way to run her business. Once she got her feet on the ground, Home Goods became firmly established in the community.
Dorothy recalled many interesting experiences over the years. She said that longtime friend Nat Thomas (who admittedly knew little about cooking) was one of her first employees.
“People loved him. They would bring stuff up to the counter and Nat would ask, ‘And this would used for what?’” Dorothy recounted.
She recalled many other similar good times and expressed appreciation for all those who have been supportive over the years. Despite economic ups and downs, the experience is not one she would trade.
“For various periods, it was really rocking around here,” she remarked.
Dorothy added, “I’m going to miss it like crazy. But I’m really happy to be leaving it. This is really physical work. It’s going to be bittersweet.
“I’ll just grab my dreams…it all just kind of evolved. I think the flood was just huge for me. I used a lot of the stage manager skills and it made me realize that I wanted to use them to help others. It all just sort of fell into place, but it’s also a very hard transition. I love these mountains and I love New Kingston,” Dorothy stated.
Dorothy fondly noted that when she first came to the Catskills, “The world revolved around the old-timers. Now, people think of me as an old-timer.”