Stay local with unique shopping ideas in Otsego County


Instruments abound at Oneonta’s “The Eighth Note”

By Patrick Dewey

Shoppers face a deadline to get their freebies from internet stores, so what better reason to visit Otsego County’s huge array of local and unique stores?

In addition to supporting neighbors and your community, local buyers collect the sales tax dollars needed to support Otsego County services.

“For every dollar we spend locally, there are about 10 more local transactions from these business owners,” said Otsego County Treasurer Alan Ruffles. He said sales tax revenues are used in part for security and preparedness for emergencies such as 911 and ambulance services. Sales tax revenue also supports public services such as the Office for the Aging, addiction recovery services, etc.

Mr Ruffles said Otsego County collected a total of $ 36.9 million in sales taxes in 2020; in 2021, the county has already raised a total of $ 37.4 million. He said the state was typically about a month behind in allocating sales tax revenue to the county, so that total, already higher than last year, doesn’t account for purchases. December and holidays.

“There was an 8.5% reduction in sales tax revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic,” he said. “Everything indicates that sales tax revenues are rebounding for us. “

Tara Burke is Director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. She said particularly in Otsego County, money spent in local businesses is being reinvested in the community.

“Many local business owners regularly donate to nonprofits in our community,” Ms. Burke said. “When you buy local, you are supporting your neighbor, someone who dreams of owning a small business. “

Here is just a small sampling of the locally owned and operated businesses in Otsego County.

The family tree gallery
171 Main Street, Cooperstown
A collective of artists exhibit and sell their works at the Family Tree Gallery, first opened by Marjorie Landers in October 2020. The Family Tree offers a wide variety of art ranging from folk art depicting local scenes to styles portrait and landscape, sculpture and pottery. Local artist Judy Steiner-Grin presents the latest piece at Family Tree; Entitled “Leaving the Hanger,” it celebrates women aviators and represents the challenges that women in aviation and other professions have faced historically. Symbolizing these barriers, it is constructed from a variety of common household items. Ms Landers said all the art is made locally and the artists work together to operate the gallery. “I like having the opportunity to share art with tourists and locals. Many locals know we are here and the response has been very positive, ”she said. The Family Tree Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

River wood
88 Main Street, Cooperstown
Riverwood owner Todd Gibbons offers a variety of items ranging from toys and games to jewelry, handbags, men’s fashion and more. Mr Gibbons said the selection of games ranged from those for children to more complex games and puzzles for adults. “We’re known for our selection of games and people can come and try a game or two,” he said. His dad, Rick, opened Riverwood in 1998. Todd took over in 2014. “When I took the helm I asked my dad what drives him every day and he said it depends on the customers. Mr. Gibbons said, noting the selection of items is inspired by customer reviews. Riverwood is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., opening at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, with extended holiday hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Christmas.

Trash alley
114 Main Street, Cooperstown
Tin Bin Alley owner Lori Fink calls her shop “a nostalgic candy store” which has many other items. Tin Bin’s candy selection includes homemade fudge, Victorian-style chocolates and dragees. Beyond candy, Tin Bin currently offers locally made mittens from recycled sweaters. Other highlights include Moonglow necklaces and greeting cards. “I pay special attention to finding inventory that I can’t see anywhere else,” Ms. Fink said. Tin Bin Alley is open Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The green toad
198 Main Street, Oneonta
The Green Toad in Oneonta is one of the few independent bookstores in the area. Owner Jim Havener said the store carries all genres of books, from fiction and fantasy to lifestyle, cookbooks and more. “It’s wonderful to be able to watch clients explore a variety of topics and ideas through our selection of books,” he said. “We sell stories and it’s a joy to see customers immerse themselves in them. Mr. Havener said The Green Toad also offers a variety of gift items, including jewelry, handbags, woven items, and more. Whenever possible, he said, The Green Toad offers locally made gift items. “Main Street Oneonta is a vital part of our region, and it’s great to be able to serve the local community and to meet visitors from other communities as well,” he said. The Green Toad bookstore is open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The bearded dragon
19 Ford Avenue, Suite B, Oneonta
Led by founder Buron Doyon with Anthony Roefs, the Bearded Dragon focuses on recreation-based card games and board games. Mr Roefs said these include Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh,
and more. Bearded Dragon also offers the Catan game and a full selection of Star Wars game products, as well as non-digital versions of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. The Dragon also sells games based on the Marvel franchise and offers a selection of comics. “I love to show how board games can unleash creativity and understanding, especially for young children,” Roefs said. The store also manages Dungeons & Dragons groups for schools and other gatherings. The Bearded Dragon was founded by Doyon in 2003 because he grew up near a game store and wanted to bring that type of experience to members of the Oneonta community. Le Dragon barbu is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Eighth note
10 S Main St, Oneonta
Ruth Cleveland and her husband Fred founded The Eighth Note in 1971 and, with the help of their son Chris, still run the store today. The Eighth Note carries guitars, pianos and electronic keyboards, as well as marching band and orchestral instruments. Ms Cleveland said customers can browse new or used inventory, with used inventory only being resold if it is of high quality. The Eighth Note employs five teachers, helping students of all ages master anything from drums to violin. Ms Cleveland said the gift certificates can be used for merchandise or lessons and a student can take as many lessons as they want. The music store also employs a luthier, a professional trained in making and repairing stringed instruments, one of the store’s most unique aspects. “My husband and I were born and raised in Oneonta, so it’s great to have such a supportive community and clientele,” she said. “Today the grandchildren of some of our first music students walk into the store.” She said that offering lessons is one of the greatest joys of owning a music store. “Offering music lessons in this area has always been our biggest dream. »The Eighth Note is open Monday to Friday 10 am to 5.30 pm and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm

The downtown areas and back roads of Otsego County offer many local stores beyond those featured here. Here you’ll find men’s and women’s fashion, shoes, plants and flowers, gift shops and more. If you want to take a break from shopping, you will also find a variety of restaurants.

“Small businesses are a big part of what makes Otsego County a great place to live, work and visit,” said Ms. Burke of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.


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