There are two things that draw your eye to Double Docs Design, a new home-décor boutique in Croton-on-Hudson: the unusual name and the beautiful hand-crafted, reclaimed-wood signs in the window.
The name is a nod to the husband-and-wife owners’ backgrounds: both are college professors. Hans Tokke teaches sociology at CUNY City Tech; Cheryl Tokke teaches marketing at a college in Queens, specializing in small stores.
But the signs and goods are from their other lives as small-business owners who still sell their collectibles and crafts at local flea markets.
Inside the small shop you’ll find big and little gems (like vases, plant stands, and wall hangings) packed everywhere the eye can see and stretched up to the vintage tin ceiling, which dates back to the 1920s. According to Hans, his decision to draw the eye up instead of down runs contrary to consumer theory, but “it seems to be working.” And spoken like a true professor, “We’ll write a paper about it someday.”
Hans first developed an interest in hand-painted signs when he opened a small décor business before he went to college. There, he learned to design signs in “the old, original way.” But after the advent of digital technology, he gave it up for years. Then, one day, Cheryl observed, “Retro is coming back, my dear.” Hans then launched a new concept, Double Docs, and began selling home goods and his hand-painted signs (“it became half of our business”) at flea markets.
Now, Double Docs is thriving, in large part due to Hans’ signs. Local businesses have also benefitted from Hans’ custom work. One local real estate agent even contracts Hans to create pieces for her clients. In addition to their signs, Double Docs also carries small gift pieces, their signature mid-century glass collection, and other objets d’art.
The Tokkes still have a large stall at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT, but they’re excited to do things a little differently in Croton. “The store offers us repeat customers, neighbors, and it’s a set spot. It’s a palette to work with that doesn’t change,” says Hans. “It’s a community space. People feel ownership of it.”