Don't forget, Retro Roadmappers - holiday shopping is a great opportunity to put your money where your mouth is, supporting the places we all love! Remember to visit mom-and-pop shops before resorting to a big and boring chain store or some online giant.
If you’re in or heading to Dutchess County NY at any time of year, you’ll definitely want to stop into A.L. Stickle 5 & 10 Variety Store, located in downtown Rhinebeck. It’s one of those places Mod Betty loves, where you open the door and feel like you’re stepping back into the past.
Linoleum floor and pegboard fixtures. Hair nets, pinwheels, teaberry gum and curtain rods. The scent of candles mixed with mothballs and furniture polish takes me right back to the Woolworth’s of my youth.
There’s a large knitting room in back (The Knitting Garage), and a whole section of timeless toys, like those pink spaldeens my mom remembers, hula hoops, and spud guns. Turkish taffy and assorted sweets line the checkout counter, and you’ll spy cleaning products that you probably haven’t heard of since visiting your grandmother’s house (Mrs. Stewart’s Laundry Bluing, anyone?) But never fear, there's plenty for the modern shopper to buy here as well.
Established in 1946 by A.L. Stickle after he returned home from WWII, today it is still in the Stickle family, as A.L’s grandson Matt has run the shop for almost 20 years.
I spoke with Matt during our visit, and was delighted to hear how proud and enthusiastic he is about the shop, and keeping the tradition going. His enthusiasm and the fact that the family owns the building are the two key ingredients Mod B always looks for when gauging whether a Retro Roadmap-worthy business will survive, and Stickle’s is all set in both cases.
One thing Mod B was over the moon to discover was the wonderful assortment of vintage inspired souvenir dish towels, retro kitchen towels, and tote bags! They make a great and useful souvenir, and Matt says they are a big seller. Lord knows Mod B snagged a bunch, but so hard to choose!
The other thing I loved were the original vintage signage, photos, merchandising displays and examples of long-ago stock decorating the shop. “My grandfather never threw anything away” explained Matt, “Most all of this was downstairs covered with dust” but now they add to the sense of history and nostalgia to your shopping experience.
So if you’re in Rhinebeck, swing on by Stickle’s, or if you can’t make it right away, at least hop on over to their online store to purchase a few holiday gifts, as this will help to support them too. Ah, 5 & 10 shopping in the 21st century!