Iowa Pacific Holdings Special Events Coordinator Debra Goodman is in charge of creating a new retail space -- the Village Shops at North Creek -- at the former Mountain and Boardertown store in North Creek.
Saratoga-North Creek Railway officials have finally cleared one of the major hurdles to reopening the retail space at the former Mountain and Boardertown ski shop on Main Street — they have a new name.
The long-vacant storefront will become the Village Shops at North Creek, according to Debra Goodman, special events director at Iowa Pacific Holdings. That company operates scenic excursions on four railways in the U.S., including the Saratoga-North Creek Railway.
Iowa Pacific is renting the space at the former Mountain and Boardertown location in the Grand Union plaza, in tandem with its local railroad operations, in order to help North Creek create more foot traffic downtown.
“You’ve got to have that shopping experience,” Goodman said. “It took an attitude of ‘I’m willing to do whatever it takes.’”
Village Shops at North Creek was the vision and pet project of Iowa Pacific Holdings President Ed Ellis.
“I’ve not seen him do anything like this at any of his railroads,” Goodman said. “It shows his commitment to the railroad and to North Creek.”
Why North Creek?
“There’s a synergy here,” Goodman said.
The original vision of the retail space has changed from a layout where vendors could have their own booths to a more wide open layout where vendors’ items would be spread throughout the store on consignment.
Improvements to the store are almost finished. The former climbing wall was dismantled and taken away when the store closed, and it will be turned into an art wall where local artists will be able to show their works. Artists receptions and other events are expected in the future.
“It’s a fabulous gathering space,” she said, pointing to the amenities leftover from Mountain and Boardertown, including the winding stream through the store, the professional stage lighting on the ceiling, and the autumn trees and false storefronts lining the walls. The bridge hanging behind the front counter will be removed. Eventually, there will be a sitting area, a coffee counter and possibly a concessions stand.
In the meantime, Goodman is working with vendors and setting up the space. Now that she has a name for the store, a sign can be finished.
Goodman lives in Gunnison, Colo. in a cabin off the grid. She came to northern New York in October to help Saratoga-North Creek Railway with special projects, such as the Polar Express in November and December, weekend concerts at the Tannery Pond Community Center, and the Village Shops at North Creek.
For now, she lives in a camper in Gansevoort and works out of the railway’s office at the Saratoga Springs train station, commuting by train to North Creek on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Once everything is in place at the Village Shops, including a store manager and staff, she will leave for home, driving her camper, two Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (Emily and Inga) and her cats (she won’t say how many) from the Adirondacks back to the Rocky Mountains. She plans to leave in March.