Two interesting pieces in this week's Putnam County News & Recorder neatly capture the tenor of the ongoing push to have a public gathering space in the old Guinan's building.
One, written by Michael Turton, does a nice job painting the scene of last week's lively Philipstown Planning Board meeting while a second by titled "A Brief History of the 'Little Chapel,'" describes the long, rich tenure of this particular gathering spot along the Hudson. (You need a subscription to view these pieces in full.)
Lindsley cites my book saying that Jim Guinan was determined to keep the place going even though the operation was losing money. It's true that at various points in time in its nearly 50-year history Guinan's struggled -- early on when Jim and his late wife Peg were launching the business, after Peg's death.
However, as my book also notes, according to the family the store also was profitable during its long history, including when it was under the leadership of Jim and Peg's daughter Christine and her husband Mike D'Onofrio; they say the store's business had tripled after their second year. And when Jim and Peg's other daughter Margaret finally shut the doors of Guinan's in 2008 after years of running it with her brother John and later help from her niece Kelly Guinan Preusser, she says the store was profitable.
Some board members of Garrison Station Plaza have suggested that a public enterprise like Guinan's on Garrison's Landing cannot succeed financially. Certainly there will always be struggles as the economy ebbs and flows for just about any business, large or small. Over nearly five decades, the Guinans weathered rough patches that will sound familiar to many entrepreneurs -- the death of a business partner, rising heating fuel prices, vendors who requested stricter payment terms, the loss of business from fuel tanks being removed at the Garrison's Landing boaters' dock. They had good years and bad years. But there was never an absence of foot traffic at the store, which rests at a critical entry and exit point for the hamlet. Demand was there.
Judging by the outpouring of support for a new gathering spot, it appears there are still a lot of people willing to spend their dollars again down at #7 Garrison's Landing in the right venue. Hopefully, they'll have a chance.