People who shop in Bemus Point, NY often come into the village only in the summer. However, the “locals” sometimes avoid some of their favorite spots in Bemus during “the season” because they are so popular. The restaurants are packed, the parking is premium, the shops are full of customers. There is a lot of fun stuff going on all summer long. Live music on the lake, the idol competition, the smell of great food wafts through the town, the people-watchers are toasting on the porches of the down town establishments meeting friends and making new ones.
Adding to the fun are the specialty shops. When our family decided to open a “store” in the village, we wanted it to be compatible with the other specialty shops, not competitive with them. In fact, many customers might be surprised to learn that the shop owners meet as a group on a regular basis, that we all like each other and that we help one another. Why? because we like what we do, we love Bemus and we really like each other. Take for example a young artist who visited me last spring. She makes beautiful children’s accessories. She came to Imagine! because we specialize in hand-made things and she was hoping to sell some of her original designs in our store. We really were attracted to her work, but we immediately “hooked her up” with Kim Walters who owns the Children’s Shoppe and where her pieces are now featured. As soon as we saw them, we knew that is where they belong. This attitude of sharing helps each store keep its unique place in the landscape of the Bemus experience. While there are some items that more than one store carries, each shop has a distinctive signature.
At some of the regular meetings of the specialty shops, we often need to work around the schedule of the various shop owners and it is always exciting for me to hear what they are doing. For example, this month Carol Skillman attended a buyers show in Las Vegas, Kim Walters is headed to Atlanta for an apparel show. Last February I was walking down the isle of the Philadelphia Buyers Market of Fine Crafts and someone came up behind me and put their hands over my eyes…I thought, “Who could this be? I don’t know anyone in Philadelphia” and there was Carol’s smiling face. It was such a happy surprise for me. She was full of suggestions for our store having already viewed the more than 1,000 booths at the show.
What does all this travel and specialty shopping mean for our customers? There are more than 11 stores in our village and each one is searching the country and sometimes the world for beautiful, interesting things to bring back right here in Bemus. Each store is sending a buyer (almost always the owner) to buy something wonderful, or fun or clever, hot off the artist’s brush or just brought over from Italy or handmade in America buy craftsmen to share with our customers. So come discover with us.!