Her shop, Stillwater Art & Design, flanks the Deerfield River. But last August when Tropical Storm Irene rolled into town, that prime location almost destroyed her livelihood.
“This side of the river on State Street was really damaged,” says Pat. “The stores along this strip, in particular, took a while to come back up.”
Pat says Fall is one of their busiest seasons, so shutting their doors to fix storm damage definitely hurt business. But store owners put a lot of time and money into repairs. And this year, they’re reaping the rewards.
“It’s busy this year,” says Kimberly Guzewicz, owner of A Heart for Art. “Last year, after the devastation from that, everything has been completely renovated down the street.”
Kimberly adds, “I think a lot more businesses have moved in, and with The Bridge of Flowers, people start coming across and they’re seeing more businesses to go into and find things.”
Talk about making the best of a bad situation — even the decor pays homage to last year’s storm. Outside Pat’s shop, there’s a set of wind chimes that are made from debris from a failed dam.
“They say it’s a vortex of artistic energy, we have The Bridge of Flowers, we have the falls, but then we have a tremendous population of artists and beautiful restaurants,” says Pat. “It’s free parking, it’s a wonderful point of destination trip.”
And if the Columbus Day crowds are any indicator, it looks like the State Street shops are well on their way to recovery.
Kimberly would even go so far as to say the storm helped — or at least spurred business growth.
“I do believe it did,” says Kimberly. “Especially this portion, the other side of The Bridge of Flowers has definitely been expanded.”