"MOM & POP" STORES--SHOPPING MALLS--WAL-MART--ANTIQUE SHOPS
Hudson's downtown improvements [as part of Urban Renewal] came after the end of World War Two, when many of the immigrant children left home to start families of their own, or in search of economic opportunity elsewhere. Another migration began, but from one part of America to another. The "Mom and Pop" stores, and the founders were also departing--from aging and the changing social-business environment. The movement was first, up-town in the City, an example: The Atlantic and Pacific food chain, with a small store on several street corners, consolidated into one big market at North Seventh. The Schaefer Chain did likewise as Grand Union and located on Union Street Extension. In the late 1950's, First National Foods, from Springfield, Mass., came to Hudson's upper Warren. The so-called "Dime" stores, Woolworths, Newberrys, and Kresges, were booming on Main Street; and Saturday night was the "Big Night" here when everyone from the County came to Town.
The big step that put the finish on the small enclave and downtown stores began in the early 1960's, with the Shopping Mall growth along Route 9, in the Town of Greenport. The City merchants could not compete, and closed or moved into one of the Centers. Every family had an automobile, and the parking facilities provided easy access. The big chains packed a variety of merchandise equal to dozens of "Mom and Pop" shops into one building; and at cheaper prices. Along came the "fast-food" franchises to take out the local coffee and restaurant places.
All these market changes occurring throughout the Hudson Valley, from Albany-Troy, south to include Catskill, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Newburgh. And now WAL-MART comes along to clear out the strip malls; and the City streets are replenished with Antique Stores, who (some people say) will revive the Valley's downtown business districts.
Time will tell.Time has told, and the story is one of successful revival--at least as far as the business district in Hudson is concerned. The most recent account appeared recently on Strolby: The best small shops in the world: "A Stroll Down . . . Warren Street in Hudson, NY."
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK
PHOTO CREDITS (top to bottom): Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection, Columbia County Historical Society; Rowles Studio Collection, Historic Hudson, Inc.; Strolby