It's Ready! New Deli Open At Key Food, Serving Buffalo Wings - And Did You Notice The New Parking Lot?

Left: The new deli, with all your favorite cheese and spread options back in the case.  Right: The new parking lot with arrows to help keep people moving in the right direction.  Photo Credits: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Left: The new deli, with all your favorite cheese and spread options back in the case.
Right: The new parking lot with arrows to help keep people moving in the right direction.
Photo Credits: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Key food new deli and food-2.jpg

You’ve walked through the doors of construction at Key Food.

You’ve walked around the usual checkout line to exit when new or moved walls were going up.

You’ve wondered what is going on behind the wall with all of the banging, and you heard that it was a new, bigger deli.

And now, the new deli is here and open! The team at Key Food has been scampering around, climbing onto the roof to hook things up and connect everything just so in order to bring Beaconites more food options for those who want to eat and run, or just eat and not cook.

The deli grew longer, a hooded kitchen was added to the back of it, and the crew is already cooking their own original Buffalo wings made in a secret sauce. Key Food is currently hiring looking to expand the deli staff!

This isn’t the first mega project the folks at Key Food undertook. Jb Said opened the Craft Beer Shoppe right next door, Junior and Co. opened Beacon International across the street, and the Smoke Shop and More was an addition as well.

What’s For Lunch/Dinner?

Buffalo wings at Key Food in their secret sauce. Blue cheese available on the shelf nearby.

Buffalo wings at Key Food in their secret sauce. Blue cheese available on the shelf nearby.

Hot, prepared meals fill the warming rack at Key Food starting at about 12:30pm. You can still get fresh rotisserie chicken that is cooked behind the deli counter, and now you can also get Buffalo wings in a secret sauce, chicken tenders, fried chicken, and a lotta other chicken options. Bottles of blue cheese are conveniently located in the isles of the store. You can keep an entire bottle back at your office fridge. No more worrying about asking for extra blue cheese and hoping it made it into the bag.

Sides are available, like crunchy broccoli salad, tabbouleh, potato salad, and other staples. Sandwich-wise, you can get egg salad, tuna salad, and of course, sliced meat sandwiches. Soon, the grill will be on and you’ll be able to get hot sandwiches. The menu is currently being taste-tested before becoming public.

Catering From Key Food

In addition to the new hot foods lining the case, Key Food Beacon has been quietly catering, working out their systems on friends and family in order to bring catering to you. Consider it in a soft Beta launch for now. Foods like sesame chicken with broccoli and Middle Eastern chicken on Spanish rice were big hits, and make it into the hot shelf for the lunch rotation of food you can take-away. Watch their Facebook page for announcements, but better yet, come in to see what’s up. Don’t wait for digital! Show up for food.

New Helpful Arrows In Key Food Parking Lot

Our office here at A Little Beacon Blog is right across the street from Key Food. We sit at one of the trickier intersections on Main Street. There are worse intersections, but this one is pretty active with illegal U-turns, kids doing pop-wheelies on bikes in the middle of the road, people driving the wrong way up S. Brett Street, and cars pulling in the wrong way into the Key Food parking lot.

If you’ve never noticed before, the driveway on the left of the parking lot is the Entrance, and the driveway on the right is the Exit. While there is a good amount of parking in the Key Food parking lot, there isn’t much room to maneuver two-way traffic, so it’s one-way.

To help everyone drive safely, Key Food had yellow arrows put down on their new pave job. A few parking spaces to the right of the front door were removed in order to make for cozier parking of the delivery trucks. As has been discussed at City Council meetings recently, Main Street is pretty narrow and congested with delivery trucks. Key Food now has a dedicated place for the trucks to park, making movement easier for everyone. See the picture of that cozy truck down below?

7th Customer Appreciation Day Hosted By Key Food Beacon

This Saturday, August 17th, Key Food is hosting their 7th Customer Appreciation Day. Which is an especially big deal this year, as everyone made it through the enhancements. From their invite: “Come celebrate with us. We want to thank you for your business. Join us for a fun event for the community. There will be free food, free beverages, free snacks, music, kids activities, giveaways and much more. Thank you so much for all your support and we hope to see you all there.”

When you come to the Appreciation Day, pop across the street to the Pop-Up Shop happening at A Little Beacon Space for some vintage t-shirts and possibly video game playing!

See you there.

The Lady Barber Who Clips In Comfort To Transform - A Lucky Cut Turns No Hair Away

Photo Credits: Lucky Longo

Photo Credits: Lucky Longo

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When Lucky Longo first walked into a barber shop to get her short hair clipped and shaped, she was turned away. Barber shops tend to be run by men for men, and just as salons tend to be a hangout for ladies, the barber shops tend to be a hangout for manly men and dudes. Which usually results in a very gender divided place on both ends of the spectrum that most people don’t think about, including owners who don’t think to exclude anyone when cultivating the culture inside of their salon or shop.

So, when thinking hair - which is a very defining part of everyone - it’s just taking a moment to step back and look at the vibe of a hair establishment. All of those years ago, after being turned away for a cut, Lucky left the barber shop confused. She had short hair. Wasn’t a barber a specialist in cutting short hair?

Being turned away was the genesis for the seed for A Lucky Cut, the quietly cool, “good vibes” barber shop on Main Street near the library you probably always wonder about but have never walked into because it is very seriously reserved as an appointment only, one-on-one establishment.

Maybe Edgy Hair Cuts And A Barber Concept Intimidates You

Photo Credit: A Lucky Cut

Photo Credit: A Lucky Cut

I’ll admit - I’ve been watching the hair cuts on A Lucky Cut’s Instagram come out. All of them - from the fades on the dudes, to the fade swoops on the little dudes, to the incredible short cuts, the head shaves to super long layers to all out transformations from long hair to short.

But I was too intimidated to consider going in. Which, it turns out, is completely ironic and the opposite of what A Lucky Cut wants to put out there to the world. This was until Lucky Longo herself reached out to A Little Beacon Blog during June, which is LGBTQ month, to let us know that she is a barber shop who specializes in cutting the hair of transgender and gay people who otherwise are not comfortable going into a traditional salon or barber shop that may feel too girly or too manly to them. A Lucky Cut positioned itself as an in-between that is very hip and cool and comfortable.

Ah HA! Intrigued - and still a little intimidated because the language and culture for trans life is new to me, so even asking the questions for an interview had to be carefully crafted so as not to offend - or so I thought.

But First…Before ALBB’s Interview…Listen To Kingston Radio’s Interview

Turns out, Kingston Radio also wanted to explore the gender slanted salon and traditional barber shop experience, and interviewed Lucky on their show for the episode “Queer Hair Roundtable!” It’s a great listen that interviews 3 hair stylists who cut hair of everyone, where you’ll discover just how young the hair passion starts in a person, and what it may feel like for a gay or transgender person walking into a salon or barber shop, where gender probably wasn’t considered when building the brand, but is ingrained into the experience of that salon or barber shop, leaving some people feeling uncomfortable in the chair.

Meet Lucky Longo, Creator and Owner of A Lucky Cut

We’re going to let Lucky take it from here, in a Q&A style interview. Her voice is pretty real and her spoken word good to read, so you’ll be able to absorb it direct, not sliced and diced in quotes.

Q: You are known for cutting hair of transgender people. Is there a reason for this? Do they feel comfortable and safe with you, as opposed to a “traditional” salon, whatever that means?

LUCKY: Yes. I believe people come to me for comfort and safety. I have a very chill environment, and I try to create a safe space to share feelings. [This is a difference from your] non-traditional barbershop so people aren’t gawking at you during your cut. I am appointment-only, and I feel very sacred with that time. Private sessions make that helpful. During transitions, people are faced with new things like beards and hair loss, and I guide them, teach them, and talk about what to expect.

Some new styles are based around wherever their transition is bringing them. Even young and newly identifying people come to me for that “edgy cut.” something to make them feel good, almost as if they slipped on a new crown. I take my job very seriously for this topic specifically.

Q: “Edgy hair” (aka hair shaved on one side, long on other), what is that style? Where did it come from?

LUCKY: It comes from people being bold and wanting to have an identity. Sometimes it comes from people who have thick hair and they say “fuck it…I want half.” Sorry, I was projecting. I did that. But I had both sides shaved and grew it long. But shaved side is definitely edgy and fun and you can do stuff with it.

Q: Anyone can sit in your chair and get an amazingly styled cut. Man or woman. Long hair or short. Man transitioning to woman, or woman transitioning to man. Hair is in and of itself a major emotional piece to someone’s identity. You are working with someone in a journey, and you’ll encounter them again on their journey and things could be much different physically and emotionally for them. How do you help them feel comfortable finding themselves in your chair as you help with the crown (hair) part?

LUCKY: Oh wow. Everyone is so energetically different here. With what and where they are in their particular journey. It’s my job before I even begin to cut anything, to feel them somehow. I get deep fast so I can find what they want, hear what they need, and know how they want to be seen. I like when people bring photos. Even though people apologize usually at first, because someone teased them for it I suppose. But I love a photo to go off of. It’s just one more idea or clue to where I take it. I always hug everyone before they sit down usually.

Q: Did you always cut hair?

LUCKY: I studied graphic design at Pratt right out of high school and worked in animal hospitals during that time. I tanked miserably after 3 years and shit got too computery, so I went in hard with the vet tech stuff while living out in Brooklyn and tapped out emotionally and cut hair at night with dreams of getting out of the city. I apprenticed at night at Dickson’s Hair Shop for 2 years then went on to the Barber Academy and moved out of the city. I did both for a long time, until one day I just said fuck it and traveled with Coal and cut hair all up and down the Hudson Valley, starting 100% in 2008.

Editor’s Note: Lucky grew up in hair salons, and declares them her comfort zone (as you’ll hear in Radio Kingston’s episode). But it took her a while to settle in to her permanent position behind the chair. Lucky did a lot of hair clippering during home visits. Some of her trans and gay clients were not comfortable leaving their homes to come into a traditional salon or barber shop. As is common with hair stylists, when Lucky left or moved, many of her clients followed her wherever she went. During Lucky’s travels up and down the river, she fell in love with Beacon and set up a hair salon in the Old Beacon High School, which she describes as “a speakeasy private barbershop right inside of the old guidance counselors office.” Recently, she moved to Main Street, in the little brick building near the public library and Glazed Over Donuts.

Q: What was it like when your barber shop was in the Old Beacon High School?

LUCKY: So good. I shared space with Mimi Longo, the musician, so between us there were always people in and out all day and we would hang hard even after work in our space.

Q: You describe yourself as a Lady Barber. What does that mean for someone visiting your shop? Do you do men’s hair only? Do you do women’s hair?

LUCKY: I am just not a man’s barber. I cut everybody’s hair. I exclude no one from my chair. It’s a place to create the safe space to become more you. So I really help try and embrace that feeling. There is no room for judgement there. It’s a predominantly men’s trade. But I like to make it known that I’m a woman just mostly for the other person’s comfort and preference. I have had men turn me down for a haircut when I am in a walk-in barber shop because I am a woman.

Q: What is the difference between a hair salon and a barbershop?

LUCKY: The million dollar question. Sounds so simple but it’s really very broad. The difference between the shops and not just the workers is, usually barbershops are walk-in and people come and go way faster than a salon, where [the client is] getting more services. Barbershops are usually predominantly full of men.

Q: As a lady barber, when you cut lady’s hair, do you wet it? Shampoo it? Blow it dry?

When I cut long hair on any gender, I don’t wash it. As a barber, I spray wet it. I blow dry it after. I don’t do blow outs or curls and shit like that. People are coming and paying for just a cut. Usually you’re paying more for that [extra styling stuff] anyway. Most people just go home and shower anyway.

Q: Can you cut long hair? Or do you just cut it all off?!? Just being real here…

LUCKY: Good question. And no way. I envy long hair. People think I just do drastic cuts only, but it’s not true. I cut all hair. Long. Short. Trims. Big cuts. Bangs. Beards. Sometimes people even apologize when they come in. Like “sorry just a trim…” As if I’m bored. But I love my job. [I’m here to] make people feel good. Be more themselves. Whatever that is for them. No judgement.

Q: Continuing in my realness…what if my hair is too boring for you? Mine’s just long and straight (well…it’s confused between friz/curl/straight). I don’t know what direction to go. But your cuts are intriguing.

LUCKY: I love what I do. And I love the opportunity to cut anyone’s hair. I know how long people wait for my appointments, so I don’t take anyone’s patience lightly. I know they waited to get to that chair. And if you want just a trim, I respect you for liking your hair enough to want it done right. [Edgy] or not.

Q: As a woman who wants to get short hair, do you think they feel more comfortable in your establishment then with a traditional barber who tend to have men?

LUCKY: Oh of course. That’s definitely the consensus! Usually the traditional barber cuts hard lines [that] aren’t long lasting and don’t serve the softness of a feminine touch to a short edgy haircut that some women prefer. But nonetheless, whatever you want and whatever woman you are, any person just wants to be heard. And not assumed what they want.

From left: Kendra, Eileen, Lucky.  Photo Credit:   Monica Simoes

From left: Kendra, Eileen, Lucky.
Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

Q: You’ve gone “even more epic” by having two famous stylists in your place - Kendra and Eileen - who do color. What does that mean for your lady barbershop? Is it a hybrid salon barbershop?

Great question. It’s still a barbershop ‘cause it’s where I work. These ladies I am lucky enough to just share my space with here and there. And they have their own clientele.

Q: Is unisex a word anymore? Mr. Bell’s storefront window says “unisex” on his storefront window, as women and men stylists have both cut all hairs there. Is there a new word now?

LUCKY: My mom was a hairdresser and I grew up in all her salons seeing that word. It feels old. I don’t know what word I wanna use. But I usually just answer “I cut all the hairs. Get in my chair.”

###

Just for fun, click on the picture below to get to the speed video of her mom cutting Lucky’s hair.

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Local/Global Travel Tech Company, ViaHero, Relocates To Beacon

As Beacon grows in number of apartments available, the demand for office space also grows. From new building requirements by the City Council to build a percentage of office space into their residential projects, to movers and shakers leaving and filling office space on Main Street.

One of the newest companies to hunker down on Main Street is ViaHero, a travel planning platform where travelers can choose locals to plan their personalized trip. Locals who live in the destination the traveler wants to visit, and has been featured in Travel and Leisure, TechCruch and The Associated Press. ViaHero posted 3 jobs here at A Little Beacon Blog, looking for local talent in tech and marketing, so we wanted to learn more about them. We started by interviewing the co-founder, Greg Buzulencia.

Where’s The Office?

ViaHero moved into The Valley Table’s old office, above the Beacon Pantry, in the Carriage Works building at 380 Main Street. You’ll recall that The Valley Table magazine recently sold to Hudson Valley Magazine.

Says Greg of the move: “My co-founder and I started the company in Pittsburgh, and we knew that in order to grow, we needed to be in an area that had the quality of life that we had in Pittsburgh, but with access to a large tech hub. Rachel and I moved to Beacon when each of our spouses got job offers in the Hudson Valley and we moved the company to NYC when we made that shift in 2017. This summer we saw an opportunity to make a few hires in the Beacon area, after seeing there was a diverse talent pool here that is tired of commuting to the city for their tech jobs, so we made the leap and signed a lease for a new office in Beacon!”

When Did ViaHero Start?

ViaHero launched in April 2016 in Cuba. Since then, they have expanded into 13 destinations across the world, “And are still growing!” says Greg. The idea behind ViaHero is that you have a local planning your trip, instead of someone who doesn’t know the area quite as well. “There's a lot of people who are frustrated with spending dozens of hours planning their trip only to find out that they fell into inauthentic tourist traps,” says Greg. “Our mission is to make it easy to broaden your perspective through travel. We allow people to do that by diving deeper into the culture. Plus, more of your travel dollars stay in the local community that you're traveling to.”

Look into the job postings by ViaHero, and see if you or a friend is a fit!

The Shop Dream In Plastic Changes Name To Zakka Joy - And Embraces All Caps!

Dream in Plastic rebrands to Zakka Joy. Same great store, different name. You’ll find the ever changing curated inventory from the same owner, Jenny Zuko.  Photo Caption: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Dream in Plastic rebrands to Zakka Joy. Same great store, different name. You’ll find the ever changing curated inventory from the same owner, Jenny Zuko.
Photo Caption: Katie Hellmuth Martin

When you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, pretty much all of your retail therapy dreams involved plastic. Charm necklaces, gummy bracelets, banana clips, you get the drift. And let’s be honest, plastic still is the foundation for a lot of what we buy. When Jenny Zuko first opened her shop in Brooklyn, NY in 2007, naming it Dream in Plastic was a safe bet. Today in 2019, the name has become a liability. People dismiss the store as something they don’t want - plastic. What does a business owner do when her customers shift? She shifts with them, does a soul search, and rebrands.

Welcome Zakka Joy To Main Street - Same Great Shop, Different Name

“It straight up hurts our feelings when people sometimes dismiss us as a store full of single-use plastics and useless junk,” admitted Jenny in an email to her customers (of which I am one!). Dream in Plastic - I mean Zakka Joy - moved to Beacon in 2009, and is one of the veteran shops on Main Street, weathering many tipping points and being on the front lines of foot traffic that comes in - both legit customers and wandering youth with backpacks who hover about the store, touching everything but buying nothing (why the empty backpacks?)

Dream in Plastic isn’t the only store to rebrand in Beacon. One of her neighbors, The Pandorica restaurant, went through a major rebrand when owner Shirley Hot transformed her Cup and Saucer theme to the Doctor Who show. She now attracts customers from all over the world.

What Is Zakka?

Photo Credit:    Zakka Joy

Photo Credit: Zakka Joy

According to Jenny: “Zakka ("Zah-kah") is a Japanese word, for which there really is no English equivalent.”

In sum, Zakka means:

  • Seeing the beauty in something mundane.

  • Uncategorizable or miscellaneous things.

  • Everything and anything that improves your home, life and appearance.

  • Humble, everyday objects that bring their users great satisfaction.

  • Things that accompany our everyday lifestyle spaces and provide an element of decoration.

  • Things mixed together with great variety.

Combine this word with “Joy,” and you have that precious moment of joy. “The shop really is about is that moment of happy (ahem, "Joy") you experience when you discover that one thing (or ten): a pencil that you cherish, a pair of socks with your favorite animal on them, a toy to keep you company, a hand-poured soy candle, or the perfect gift for someone,” explains Jenny.

Zakka (thing) + Joy (the feeling when you discover the thing) = Zakka Joy

You’ll notice similarities in the old and new in the new logo. Still a cute shape in the name (originally a little cloud and now an emoji type smile-y face). Where Dream in Plastic was in all lowercase, Zakka Joy stands big and bold in all caps.

What Will You Find Inside of Zakka Joy?

The smiley-face from the logo grows inside on the wall.   Photo Credit:    Zakka Joy

The smiley-face from the logo grows inside on the wall.
Photo Credit: Zakka Joy

Regulars of the shop know Jenny to have an ever changing collection of inventory, from walls of cameras to walls of socks. In recent years, her collection of paper stationery and kitchen goods has grown. There is not an official stationery store in Beacon. There used to be - down on Jenny’s end of town - but that store closed long ago. I still have several very pretty file boxes I purchased from that shop, however.

While not a full blown stationery store, Jenny’s addiction to paper is very much alive right now, with her large collection of journals, planners, and party decorations. Her art supply collection is growing as well, with charcoal pencils, funky erasers, highlighters that smell like strawberries and peaches, and some of the best rolling pens you have ever used. Impress your friends or the ladies at the DMV with your pink pen you carry in your purse (like I did!). It’s real easy and cheap retail therapy.

Inside, you’ll still find the pusheens you love, and collection of stuffed animal keychains. You will definitely find stickers and figures from the famous artist (who now lives in Beacon!) Tara McPherson.

It’s Real - The Instagram Has Changed

The name on the storefront has changed, and the handle in your Instagram has changed from Dream in Plastic to @zakkajoyny. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do a thing to follow the new shop online. Except to visit the old shop!

There’s a party to celebrate the name change on Second Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 6-9pm. Remember when the shop used to have artist display on Second Saturday? Now the store itself is on display. Go give Jenny a high-five for all the work she has done to recreate her shop, which is always recreating anyway.

Is Beacon Open On The Fourth Of July? Here's A Short List

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Holidays are tricky for shops and restaurants. On a holiday, most people who have salaried jobs have the day off - or a paid holiday - and take to traveling. To places like Beacon! But people who work usually part-time jobs for small businesses also want the holiday off. So it can be hard to find employees to work on the day. And if you’re the business owner like me, there isn’t such thing as a paid holiday. We just work all the time, LOL.

A reader wrote into A Little Beacon Blog today to ask about whether stores and restaurants would be open. Sometimes holiday weekends - especially Monday holidays - can be very busy in Beacon. Remember Presidents’ Day weekend a few years ago?

Meanwhile, the business owners in Beacon were asking themselves the same thing in a Facebook group. We caught a few answers, and then social media went dark as Facebook and Instagram decided to break for today and not work. Thank goodness for blogs and newsletters (ahem)!

The Short List Of Shops And Restaurants Who Will Be Open or Closed On Thursday, July Fourth

We checked in with all of our retail sponsors who advertise in A Little Beacon Blog’s Shopping Guide or Restaurant Guides:

OPEN!

THE CRAFTY HAMMER
$5 Wood Block Painting Projects
Open July 4, 11 am to 3 pm
Great for kids who like to dip paint brushes into many colors of paint - under supervision of The Crafty Hammer’s team of trained staff. Also great for adults who like coloring - The Crafty Hammer has stencils you can use, and free-form is welcome too! As is coloring outside the lines. Stop in for this Fourth of July-themed project.
BONUS! Free snacks and beverages with your $5 wood project.

We are awaiting confirmation on Darryl’s Clothing Boutique. They are usually open on Thursdays, but we aren’t sure either with the holiday!

The movie theater will be open, if you need to cool off.

[UPDATED 7/4/2019] Also open will be Beacon Pantry, Trax, Mountain Tops, Bank Square Coffee, Blackbird Attic, Utensil, and most likely several others! Have fun out there, and please no U-turns in the middle of the street!

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The public Beacon Pool is open! Anyone can go. Day passes are $5, $3 for kids. Season passes are still available to buy. You can bring your own food, but you must eat it outside of the fence. This is to help prevent bees from gathering inside the pool area.

The Declaration of Independence is being read down at City Hall. This is the big municipal building at the entrance of Main Street and Wolcott. If you’re walking up from the train, you’ll walk right by it. The reading starts at 11 am. Find details in A Little Beacon Blog’s Event Guide.

For more ideas of Things To Do This Weekend, subscribe to A Little Beacon Blog’s newsletter to be sent a list of highlights each week. And click on our Event Guide that is always being updated. The Crafty Hammer is a proud sponsor of that guide, which helps makes keeping it up to date possible. If you’re driving around and are considering moving to Beacon, click on our Real Estate Listing Guides for Featured Listings of homes, apartments and commercial spaces available.

CLOSED

These stores and restaurants are closed on Thursday, July 4, but will spring back into action on Friday, going into the weekend!

SHOPS

RESTAURANTS

After Thursday, all of these folks open back up on Friday!

As for the rest of Beacon shops and restaurants, get the entire list in A Little Beacon Blog’s guides on each. There you will find addresses and phone numbers! We make it easy for you to call and find out the who’s who of being open.

Happy Independence Day!


Grand Opening! The Crafty Hammer Opens Saturday, June 29, With Wood Projects and Designer Cookies

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Looking for a sweet? The Crafty Hammer’s Grand Opening and Ribbon 🎀 Cutting with Beacon’s Chamber of Commerce is this Saturday, June 29, 2019, and there will be power-drill shaped cookies!! Those will make great fuel for the two days of DIY woodworking workshops for you to enjoy.

Look for blocks of wood you can stencil and paint, as well as other crafty hammer challenges. The Crafty Hammer is located at 4 South Chestnut Street, across from Rite Aid, in the former purple yoga studio spot. What was once purple is now brown - for wood!

The Crafty Hammer is a proud sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog’s Classes and Events Guides, and it is with their support that we are able to publish events you love!

Beacon Fine Jewelers Moves Next Door

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

When a store is no longer in the spot you’ve seen it in for years, your first thought might be that it is simply gone. Looking right next door is actually not a thought that occurs to some people. Like when Beacon Barkery moved next door a couple of years ago. Such is the case with Beacon Fine Jewelers, who for years occupied a corner spot on Main Street, where they could hang a store shingle, as well as have another sign on the side of the building. That side sign has been replaced by their new neighbor, Edward Jones.

Run by a father/son team from Newburgh, Beacon Fine Jewelers can do most anything you need with your jewelry. They have their workshop in the back, and fire up and pound out many designs, including these little cutie copper critters we featured last Christmas. More of those critters are showing up in the storefront window, so do drop in to see more of them, and the other projects Beacon Fine Jewelers are working on.

Pink Optical Closes Beacon Location

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The pink bench outside of Pink Optical that matched its geraniums has cheered its last tush. It was carted off down the street last week to its new home, as Pink Optical closed its Beacon location. It was known as “The Eye Candy Store” for designer frames from Betsey Johnson, Prada, Versace, Tom Ford, and other clothing designers who expanded to include eyewear lines.

Pink Optical came into town shortly after Luxe Optique opened up shop about five blocks west on Main Street. The big difference between the two is the lines of eyewear carried by each shop. Different brands were carried in each - Luxe Optique carries handmade frames from designers who specialize in only designing eyewear. Pink Optical may have had stronger competition from deep-discount online glasses stores.

If memory serves, Pink Optical replaced Get Frosted Cupcakery. Before they closed shop, A Little Beacon Blog interviewed Get Frosted’s owner Karen, which is a good read if you’re interested in why businesses start up and what factors into closing their doors.

Wishing Pink Optical the best as they are off to new pastures! Not sure where those pastures are, but chime in if you know!

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Alvin Bell Sr. Turns 85 - Awarded "Unofficial Mayor Of The City Of Beacon" For Service To Beaconites

Alvin and Shirley Bell opened their salon after Mr. Bell’s job as a pressman disappeared when the Nabisco factory closed. That factory is now the Dia: Beacon.

Alvin and Shirley Bell opened their salon after Mr. Bell’s job as a pressman disappeared when the Nabisco factory closed. That factory is now the Dia: Beacon.

Mr Alvin Bell Awarded Unofficial Mayor Certificate 85th Birthday.jpg

If you need a dose of inspiration to continue, and to follow your own path, here is the story of Alvin and Shirley Bell to inspire you. We have written about Alvin before, but here’s a recap to remind you: Mr. Bell moved to Beacon from Virginia in search of a job, and found one at Beacon Piece Dye, and then moved on to be a pressman at the Nabisco factory (now the Dia: Beacon art museum). According to his interview in the Highlands Current: “I don’t want to brag, but I worked my way up to become the top pressman. I made $15 an hour and later with overtime as much as $40,000 a year. When Nabisco closed, I opened my barber shop.”

When that Nabisco job was downsized, Mr. Bell was 54. His wife Shirley was doing hair, and he himself actually wanted to open a salon. As a youngster in Virginia, Alvin cut the hair of his friends and family, as he revealed in the Highlands Current article, when he wasn’t tending the tobacco fields with his family. “It was like a miracle; cutting hair just came back to me.” Mr. Bell opened Main Street Beauty Salon on Main Street, and has been operating his unisex barbershop for 30 years, with different barbers and stylists operating from it with him.

Love Your Work; Work Your Love

Loving your work makes a difference. As he stated in the article: “Tobacco was backbreaking but there’s nothing hard about being a barber. People are good. It’s one of the best trades in the whole world… I have as many white customers as I do black customers. Men and women. People know my work; I’m good. I even do traditional hot towel, straight razor shaves. My hands are still smooth.

“I’m also a very spiritual person; I’m a deacon at Springfield Baptist Church. A lot of brothers and sisters come here and we get right into Scriptures and the Bible. And we talk politics and baseball. I’m a Mets fan.”

Mr. Bell Honored By Beacon’s Mayor Randy Casale

Upon turning 85, Mr. Bell was honored by Beacon’s Mayor, Randy Casale, with a Certificate of Recognition as the Unofficial Mayor of The City of Beacon. Said the Mayor in a letter:

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“I would like to wish you a very happy 85th birthday! For 85 years you have been the unofficial Mayor of the City of Beacon. Your barber shop has served Beacon residents in an exemplary fashion for nearly three decades. This community is grateful to have such a friendly and helpful role model. As a good friend of Pete Seeger, I know you have a good heart. Your children and those around you are blessed to learn from you every day. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the City of Beacon.”

One of Mr. Bell’s clients opened his own shop in Beacon as well. To read more about Mr. Bell, see our article here.

Abscission Barber Shop Moves Across The Creek - Near Dogwood

The new storefront of Abscission Barber Shop, at 25 East Main Street.  Photo Credit: Chris Fontakis

The new storefront of Abscission Barber Shop, at 25 East Main Street.
Photo Credit: Chris Fontakis

Scoops come from everywhere. One evening in March 2019, while at an Open House for an elementary school, a parent approached me with a hot tip: “Hey - I got some scoop for you! Abscission has moved!” This indeed was a hot tip because Abscission, located on Beacon’s east end near the mountain, has been a trusted barbershop in Beacon for a long time.

Justin sits in Alvin Bell’s chair on Main Street in Beacon. Justin has since opened his own shop, Abscission, which just relocated to the mountain side of town.   Photo: Beacon Free Press, Don Worthy

Justin sits in Alvin Bell’s chair on Main Street in Beacon. Justin has since opened his own shop, Abscission, which just relocated to the mountain side of town.
Photo: Beacon Free Press, Don Worthy

A young man named Justin opened up shop on the east end of town. He used to get his own hair cut by Mr. Bell, whose barber shop is an anchor point on the other end of town near BJ’s Soul Food. In fact, Mr. Bell and Justin were featured in the Beacon Free Press in 2001 for a story on Mr. Bell’s endurance when he created a new career as a barber. Now Justin has his own shop, and endurance of both barbers in Beacon is strong.

Abscission was on a corner lot on Main Street, and is now across the street from Mr. Mozz, that storefront near Dogwood that you might always wonder about (we’re going to do an article on it!). Abscission is now located in the strip of shops that is down the block from Dogwood and next to the laundromat and Artifact Beacon.

What’s in the name, Abscission? Says owner Justin: “I opened up the dictionary looking for shop names and it was the first thing I came across and thought it was meant to be.”

Justin hard at work, clipping hair in his new digs.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Justin hard at work, clipping hair in his new digs.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin



The Crafty Hammer Signs On To Sponsor A Little Beacon Blog's Event Guide

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Thank to our newest sponsor and one of the newest businesses in town, The Crafty 🔨Hammer! They are under construction over there in the Ritter Building, across from Rite Aid, in what is now purple and a former yoga studio space (a moment of reflection for the departed yoga studios!). Keep up with The Crafty Hammer each week in our Friday newsletter, and do peek in through the window while they are building! They already shared a power drill with us!

With support from local businesses like this, we can continue updating A Little Beacon Blog with upcoming events! There is a Submission Page that gets info to us for consideration. The Crafty Hammer is also a sponsor in the Adult Classes Guide, because they have so many DIY workshops you want to be a part of! Make your own stuff on their big workshop tables!

If you want to start sponsoring A Little Beacon Blog in some way, please see our Media Kit for ideas, and then contact us!

Zero To Go Transitions Residential Compost Pickup To Community Compost Company (CCC)

Photo Credit: Zero To Go

Photo Credit: Zero To Go

Zero To Go (ZTG), an education-based waste management company focused on composting and recycling, was the first to offer residential pickup of food waste in Beacon in order to keep it from landfills, and eventual methane gas production. After years of operating food composting pickup service in Beacon, Zero To Go has transitioned its Beacon Compost Residential and Farmers Market Collection Program to Community Compost Company (CCC), a New Paltz-based company that is currently servicing several Beacon businesses, according to Zero To Go’s soon-to-be sole owner, Atticus Lanigan. “We are very excited about this,” said Atticus in a letter to Beacon Residential Compost customers, and proceeded to list the reasons:

  • CCC pioneered the Table to Farm compost collection service in the Hudson Valley and is experienced handling residential and commercial collection.

  • CCC is a New York State certified woman-owned business based in the Hudson Valley.

  • CCC is reliable, has great people. and follows the "4P" ethos (People, Planet, Place and Profit).

  • CCC processes the scraps they collect into organic soil amendments on farms in the Hudson Valley, and is already composting the food scraps from ZTG events and collection.

Zero To Go will continue to service events, and “can be hired to handle waste at events in a responsible way,” said Atticus.

Why Does Methane Gas From Food Matter?

If you’ve never experienced methane gas production, try leaving a smoothie in your car in a closed coffee mug for three weeks, and then open it in your kitchen. Spoiler alert: There is so much pressure built up inside of the closed cup from the food rot process, the top will shoot off and hit anything across the room, cracking your plastic water filter container. Some people build potato guns. You could easily build a smoothie gun with yogurt, bananas and strawberries with minimal effort, just some time.

The History Of Zero To Go

Zero To Go was best known for being hired to manage trash/recycling/food waste at events, and branched into servicing businesses in Beacon by picking up their food waste. Zero To Go, founded by Sarah Womer, then launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 (see this interview with Sarah in this Tin Shingle Training TuneUp webinar on how she did that), to start their residential food pickup program, originally powered by people on bikes.

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Fast-forward years and hours of work later, Sarah took a full time job at Riverkeeper, and Atticus Lanigan came in to manage the company. In addition to raising two children, Atticus has a background in Sociology and Urban Planning, and also works for Dutchess Outreach, an organization fighting food insecurity in Dutchess County that offers a hot meals program (formerly known as a “soup kitchen”).

Says Sarah when A Little Beacon Blog reached out for comment: “Atticus and I put in huge numbers of hours and sacrificed a lot of our own time to run and grow this company (like any start-up owners do)! It's been a real labor of love. It feels good to see the compost program take flight under new ownership - if we have a strong, visible, affordable compost program in town, it's something to be very proud of!”

Today, Atticus continues her work for Dutchess Outreach, and officially moves into the sole owner role of Zero To Go, which will specialize in event waste management. Sarah works in Harlem at a sustainability consulting firm. Both are always moving and shaking in the world of waste management and their commitment to educating about it. They will be contributing in other areas, so keep your eyes peeled.

Plastic Bags Out Of Food Compositing

Plastics bags are leaving the Hudson Valley (see press release about Governor Cuomo banning single-use plastic bags from New York State), including the food compositing arena. Said Atticus to prep customers about plastic bags: “CCC will not be accepting compostable plastics in the buckets, which includes compostable bags. This will be the biggest change as many of you are using compostable plastic bags in the process of getting your food scraps out to your buckets.”

Atticus began preparing Zero To Go customers for a plastic bag transition: “Ultimately, the use of bio-plastics is not ideal. As lawmakers work to deal with the overwhelming issue of garbage, many are seeking the abandonment of all single-use plastics and plastics in general. By drawing ourselves away from the use of it, we will be ahead of the curve.”

SIDE NOTE: Food Rot Container Tip

Fortunately, my compost food collection container is in a very pretty white jar from Pottery Barn, and my food collection system does not involve a plastic bag. The container is a porcelain flour jar that I repurposed to be a food compost container with a rubber-sealed lid. You could also find such a jar at Utensil or maybe even Raven Rose in Beacon. I just walk this pretty pot of rot to my compost bucket outside on my back porch, and that’s it. Happy to not have to wean myself off of a plastic bag! Am currently working on weaning myself off of Ziploc baggies.

To sign up for residential food pickup from Community Compost Company, click here. It’s about $32/month for weekly pickup, and lower rates are available for fewer pickups.

The Valley Table Acquired by Hudson Valley Magazine’s Today Media

Photo Credit: Magazine Cover of The Valley Table

Photo Credit: Magazine Cover of The Valley Table

Food and drink are serious matters in the Hudson Valley, and their excellence is part of what makes living in this region so rich. The founders and publishers of The Valley Table recognized this in 1998, when husband-and-wife team Jerry Novesky and Janet Crawshaw started The Valley Table magazine, “to give a voice to local chefs, farmers, and makers.” As a result, the magazine, which is based out of 380 Main Street, Beacon, above The Beacon Pantry, consistently covers anticipated restaurant openings, interviews chefs, provides recipes, and spotlights ingredients - and the farmers who grow them - to which you may never have given a second thought.

Hot off the digital press on Monday, June 3, The Valley Table announced that they have been acquired by Today Media, which is the publisher of several regional magazines including Hudson Valley Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Delaware Today, and Main Line Today.

Events Produced By Magazines

Events are big for publications, and eight years after launching the print magazine, The Valley Table created one of the biggest dining draws in the region: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. This property is also included in the merger, to join the strong event lineup from Today Media, which includes:

June 4-9: Wine & Food Festival
July 24: Best of Westchester Party
August 15: Hudson Valley Magazine’s Burger & Beer Bash
September 26: Westchester Magazine’s Wingfest
October 10: Best of Hudson Valley Party
November 4-17: Hudson Valley Fall Restaurant Week (usually also held in the spring)

Says Today Media’s Hudson Valley Group Publisher, Michael Martinelli, of the deal in the press release: “This acquisition enables Today Media to expand its audience and build on The Valley Table’s success while honoring the mission and values that have made Valley Table an authority in its specialty. It will also bring together two of the largest, most iconic food events in the region, as many of the restaurants that participate in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week will also be featured at Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival, June 4-9.”

Print Publication Of The Valley Table Will Continue

The Valley Table will continue publishing, according to a statement released by The Valley Table’s co-publisher, Janet Crawshaw: “Today Media’s deep roots in the Hudson Valley and its expertise in publishing make it the perfect fit for carrying on and growing The Valley Table magazine, its digital platforms, and Restaurant Week event.”

Read more about this at Westchester Magazine and at LoHud.

Beacon Career Fair A Success With Teens, Businesses and Organizations

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There was great turnout at Beacon High School’s Career Fair today! Plenty of interested students asked questions... and foraged for free cookies. A Little Beacon Blog bribed passers-by with stickers, and for the writers and bloggers in the house (they are usually very shy and quiet when approaching the table), we gave writers our tote bag.

Each year we are happy to engage with teens to show them the resources they didn’t know about yet, like our recent article about the (free) Dia Teens Art Program, and the Open Sketch session at the Beacon Library. One student who visited the table is about to be published in the Poughkeepsie Journal for an article she wrote!

Salon Dae (the salon near Dutchess Airport) was in attendance with opportunities for hair stylists, and did braiding on the spot. Next to Salon Dae was Twins Barber Shop from Beacon’s Main Street, clipping away. The Twins always draw the largest crowd!

Across the way were the fire 🔥 fighters, who were giving demonstrations using a smoke machine. Antalek & Moore Insurance brought their corn hole game and had quite the competitions going on. For the rest of us, it was hard to compete with all that action!

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The EMS Education table was in a good spot to reach interested prospective first responders, who need the education first to even get into the field. Other first responders included the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Beacon Police.

A Little Beacon Blog’s table was in between Wingate’s caregivers table, answering questions for men and women who might want to go into nursing and caregiving, which we learned provides job security as there has been a shortage of nurses, we were told. Dutchess County Tourism was on our other side - where we learned all sorts of things like how they are organizing workshops for businesses to help educate about best practices, like ADA compliance for websites. Good stuff, those busy bees are doing over there!

If you’re a business who wants to represent at the Beacon Career Fair next year and reach the students, email the organizer, school counselor Michele Polhamus at polhamus.m@beaconk12.org. The notification about the Career Fair usually goes out in March-ish for this annual May event.

Take Part in BeaconArts' Upcoming Member Show! Submissions Now Open!

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All BeaconArts members are invited to submit artwork for our first annual Member Show at Hudson Beach Gallery (above Hudson Beach Glass) at 162 Main St., Beacon, NY. The exhibition runs Saturday, July 13 to Sunday, August 4, and is curated by Theresa Gooby and Karlyn Benson.

Space is limited, so send your submissions to membershow@beaconarts.org before Friday, May 24 to guarantee your spot. All mediums are welcome. For complete details and submission guidelines please visit the event’s website.

If you would like to participate, but are not a BeaconArts member or need to renew, please click here to join today.


BeaconArts is a Community Partner of A Little Beacon Blog and is part of our Sponsor Spotlight program. This article was part of their monthly messaging partnership. Thank you for supporting organizations who support us!