Best of the WebShop Tour

Clove & Creek Tour + Best of the Web

by Kelli Kehler

This time last year, Grace and I were embarking on a whirlwind summer of photo shoots for In the Company of Women. We had just planned the whole book’s production at Grace’s kitchen table in her Upstate New York home, and that trip was my first taste of the Ulster County area. We were busy booking more than 80 photo shoots, so the productive visit was short but sweet, and ever since last summer I’ve been wanting to go back.

Had I the chance to explore the area again, Kingston would be my first stop — especially with the recent installment of Clove & Creek. Using the natural beauty of Upstate NY to inform their collection of home goods and gifts, Scott Neild and Michael Cook opened the doors to their new mercantile a few months ago. Their thoughtful selection of earthy, comfortable and gorgeous wares — and a coffee bar in-house, to boot — makes for a shop I’d likely pop into frequently if I lived nearby, even just to chat and gather inspiration.

I spoke with Scott to learn more about Clove & Creek’s beginnings, the goods they carefully select to sell, and their desire to connect with the local community. Check out our Q&A after the jump, and click through the slide show to tour their lovely space. Here’s wishing everyone a fun and relaxing weekend. —Kelli

Photography by Christian Harder

best of web

  • Musical Empowerment: This Pitchfork Q&A with Chicana punk and feminist icon Alice Bag about how certain music taught her to accept herself — from David Bowie to the Mulan Soundtrack — is moving and raw.
  • Plant Shrine: Turn your (perhaps unorganized) affinity for plants into an organic design moment with this Bookcase Vertical Garden DIY from Justina Blakeney.
  • Tomato Crush: I’m dreaming of this beautiful tomato jam Charles Hunter III (aka The Salted Table) posted on Instagram. Grab the recipe here.
  • Small but Striking: These graphite drawings by Mateo Pizarro are about the size of a matchstick and packed with remarkable detail.
  • Stop Knock-offs: Our very own Adam J. Kurtz is spearheading Shop Art Theft, which supports independent artists by highlighting their works that have been apparently copied by global fashion retailer ZARA.
  • Ice Cream Airbnb: Ever wish you could stay in a space designed by uber-talented Jersey Ice Cream Co.? Now you can!

best of d*s 2


D*S: How did the idea for Clove & Creek come about? What sparked your desire to launch your own mercantile?

Scott Neild: The idea began with a bestie weekend last year. We were literally snowed in, sharing a bottle of bourbon together. I think we half-jokingly (and drunkenly) filed the LLC, but very quickly we realized that the idea was inspiring both of us and quickly took on a life of its own. We’re both nesters and love filling our surroundings with beautiful things… we wanted a store that would feature local makers and really become an active part of the community. Part of the reason we offer coffee is to have a chance to have dialogue and create relationships within our neighborhood and community.

What guided the design aesthetic for the shop?

We’re inspired by the rustic and natural beauty of the area and look for products that are warm, natural, and well designed. Aside from that, we give ourselves the freedom to have flirtations with any number of aesthetics — we’re having a thing with England and Mexico right now. We’re also keen to find the products that lie at the intersection where aesthetics meet functionality. Minna Goods is a great example of these things — Sara Berks is designing in Red Hook, NY working with master weavers in Mexico, to create gorgeous hand towels and blankets that we carry in our store and online shop… things we need that also look great.

Tell us about how you and Michael source the goods you offer.

I’ve been living in the area full-time for a couple of years, working at Table on Ten and Brushland Eating House — meeting lots of people in Delaware County who were creating, making or farming. When we started out, we were mainly working with friends and neighbors in three-day pop-up markets. Those people are still represented in the shop as well as new people we’ve met who are working in Kingston and the surrounding area. Michael is the market editor at Out Magazine and is always looking for new products in that position. And we’re both shoppers — we have a long list of items waiting to get in the store! We sort of have two questions we ask when we’re considering product development: will it fill a need in people’s lives, or will it add beauty to their surroundings?

What do you hope to provide to your community?

We have so many ideas and dreams that we hope to develop, including a Clove & Creek garden, immersive theatrical experiences, a meet-the-maker series. We also plan to use the wall space of the store to feature local artists and hope to do several shows/openings a year. Kingston is such an exciting place to be, and in particular the Rondout, where we’ve got the area’s best flower shop (Hops Petunia), wine bar (Brunette), antiques dealer (Milne), leather worker (Jay Teske) and wine shop (Kingston Wine Company) all on the same two-block stretch. Our ideas are endless for how we, as a small business community, can dramatically create positive change for our neighborhood and town.

Since you opened in May, what’s been the most rewarding aspect of owning this shop?

Working with all of our makers and vendors to create something visually cohesive and something that speaks to our personal style and story has been such a fun, creative exercise. I love hiding little things in the shop that tell a story of what inspires us. Right now, there’s a few recipes from my grandmother’s recipe box hiding here and there in the store… reminds me of the big table of food she would prepare — the love, that’s what we’re always chasing. To bring people into our story. And I love that everyone knows Jasper, my beagle hound that keeps watch in front of the store, and asks how he’s doing :)

Best friends and business partners Scott Neild and Michael Cook followed a passion for outfitting their homes with beautiful yet functional things by opening Clove & Creek. Located in the historic Rondout district of Kingston, NY, the mercantile curates a hand-picked selection of home goods and gifts -- plus a coffee bar.
Hanging from the ceiling in the top left of the photo is a kayak that was found in the building's storage space. Scott calls it "a nod to the many kayakers that use the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River it empties into a mile away." True in Clove & Creek's fashion to showcase talented local artisans, on the back wall is a piece from Bovina, NY artist, Lisa Candela's Sayulita series.
A rich black backdrop, punctuated by rustic shelving, elevates some of Clove & Creek's selection of goods, including Jack Rudy cocktail mixers and Hudson Standard shrubs and bitters.
Locally and organically grown sage bundles wrapped in lavender, rose, and sweetgrass. "Perfect well-wishing or housewarming gift," Scott notes.
"Hand-drawn illustrations are inlaid into free-thrown porcelain ceramics by Pratt & Hebert from Schenectady," Scott shares. "They stopped in with new wares the day Christian was shooting [these photos]. I love getting visits from my makers... gives me a chance to ask all the questions that my customers will ask me. I hope to be a good steward and representative of each artist's work, so the relationship and conversations matter very much to our ethos."
Utilitarian items become pieces of art styled within the Clove & Creek retail space, like this high-gauge steel enamelware made in England by Falcon. "Durable enough for the campsite, chic enough for the restored farmhouse," Scott notes.
Yarn-dyed handkerchief linen beach blankets by Brooklyn Beach infuse pops of saturated color into the shop. The blankets have corner pockets that, when filled with sand, keep the blanket from blowing away, Scott says.
"We knew early on that coffee would be an element of our retail experience," Scott begins. "We wanted to be involved with community and to see people even on days when they're not looking to shop. Plus, hello! -- We love coffee! We serve Parlor's signature blend, Prospect, a Kenya/Guatemala blend roasted in Brooklyn. Makes for delicious cold brew."
Scott preparing a coffee pour-over in the shop.
An ethically sourced colored pencil set in a custom Clove & Creek box. Other items in the shop's own custom line include scented candles and maple syrup.
"We love the California/Southwest vibe. These cards are from Small Adventure: 100% recyclable, biodegradable sleeve."
"The top shelf features work from local ceramist, Ben Suga, including a best-seller of ours that he calls a 'spirit guardian'," Scott explains. "All of his work is free-thrown, earthy and natural, working with either porcelain or earthenware from his studio in Saugerties. Also shown are pieces for the home bar -- both new and vintage -- and the entire line of Jack Rudy cocktail mixers made in Charleston, SC."
"We love the light that comes streaming in through the window. The bench was custom built by AJ Mason so that people could have a place to enjoy their coffee. The wisteria vines under the bench were a gift from our neighbor, Hops Petunia. The garden outside is a reflection of the inside: aesthetic meets functionality. Tomato plants and herbs live happily next to lavender and ornamental grasses."
Clove & Creek business partners and best friends, Scott Neild (left) and Michael Cook (right). Photo by Emma Tuccillo.

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