CLINTON — The Village Crossing store is seeking new ownership after an 11-year run at 11 W. Park Row.
The owner of the small woman’s clothing boutique, Joyce Polanowicz, of Cassville, said it’s “just time to relax a little bit.” The shop has been up for sale for over a year — well before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s just me running and working in the store,” she said. “It requires a lot of time and energy. I think my husband would appreciate me being around a little more and so I feel it’s time to slow it down a little bit.”
Polanowicz, a registered nurse by trade, had no retail experience when she drove by her favorite store on Genesee Street in New Hartford back in 2008 to see it was up for sale due to owner retirement. Crestfallen, she made the topic such a point of conversation at dinner with her husband that evening, it was he who made the suggestion she buy the store. So she did.
“Of course he said to me after the fact I only said that to make you stop talking about it,” said Polanowicz with a laugh. “The space they were in was spoken for by Georgio’s Village Cafe, so I went looking for a new space.”
Unfortunately, Polanowicz said there was nothing appropriate at the time in New Hartford.
“It’s not a mall store,” she said. “It’s the old-fashioned ‘Mom & Pop’ kind of store. So I went looking and found a space in Clinton, which is how I ended up there.”
In the years Polanowicz has operated the store she said she’s been fulfilled in two very distinct ways.
“I’ve always loved art,” she said. “I grew up in the end of an era of ‘woman, you’re going to be a nurse or secretary,’ and despite talking to my teachers, parents and councilors about it, I never received any support in that direction, so I went a more traditional route. This has become my art, the colors, designs and arrangements.”
The other way was even more personal.
“I just love the people,” she said. “I’ve made friends that will be life-long friends and many acquaintances that hopefully I will bump into here and there over the years.”
Polanowicz said her clothing lines were for the more mature woman, not teen-agers.
“I mean you go into these clothing stores in the mall and everything is size small,” she explained. “Most of the clothing we carry is more suited for a mature woman. That has nothing to do with their size, it just has to do with a woman’s body shape in general.”
Quality of clothing is also something Polanowicz said she was proud to offer.
“We do a lot natural fabrics,” she said. “Cottons and linens for comfort, and we try to do as much ‘Made in U.S.A.’ as possible.”
Polanowicz said she also feels what makes her boutique unique is she doesn’t carry lines you’ll find at the department stores.
“You won’t be walking down the street and see someone else wearing the same thing,” she said. “Not to mention the fit is good, and the quality is good.”
She admits that can be a double-edged sword at times.
“Someone said to me the other day ‘I need a new pair of pants, but the ones I bought from you 10 years ago are still in good shape,’” she explained. “That doesn’t happen when you buy at a lot of stores that just sell junk.”
Polanowicz said she achieves the quality in her merchandise by not buying from corporations but small independent companies who do care about what they sell and want their customers to have first-rate clothing.
Polanowicz said she had a buyer right before the pandemic hit but that fell through once the virus caused the March shut down.
Regardless, Polanowicz, who said she’s in her 60’s, is optimistic and said she believes she knows what type of person would benefit most in taking over the store. Not just for their own sake but for the sake of the customers.
“It’s not for someone who is my age to start out,” she said. “Ideally somebody who is in their late 30’s, early 40’s ...up to 50 [years old] would be old enough to understand how a woman’s body changes as time goes on and what fits them and still be young enough to still have energy for a number of years.”
Polanowicz also said she would like the opportunity to work with the new owners, they way the owners she bought the store from did for her. Showing her the ropes, where to buy from and who to do business with.
“:The ladies I bought [the store] from did that for me.,” she said. “They took me to my first shows and I would be more than willing to do that for the next person and teach them what I know and give them my take on what you do and do not want for the client.”
Polanowicz said whoever takes the store over she would like to see good quality remain.
“I wouldn’t expect it to stay the same as I’ve done it,” she said. “We all bring our personal tastes into what we do. I did. What I hope for is someone who has a little bit of expendable income who can really launch an advertising campaign and develop further the website I’ve started and do tremendous things with it.”
The Village Crossing is open four days a week, Wednesday - Friday 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The store will also stay open later by appointment. Customers can view the stores product line at www.thevillagecrossing.com/about/store-hours-2/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/The-Village-Crossing-134738803298226 or call with questions 315-853-5299.