By Julie H. Case and Sierra Guardiola
Beneath a soaring ceiling stands a flannel-clad barista steaming a latte. A mounted buck, surrounded by thunderstorm-gray walls and a golden frame, holds court on the opposing wall. The room is awash in similar funky signage, handmade furniture, and art. Shoppers peruse these heirloom odds and ends scored by the constant whistling of the espresso machine. There’s a very Brooklyn-comes-home feel here at Foundry42 — a Port Jervis lifestyle shop that started serving coffee and baked delicacies in 2016.
Cooper Boone, a food- and design-loving singer/songwriter, has been a major force behind the whole operation. He was splitting his time between New York and Nashville, but when he and husband Mark Veeder had twin girls in 2014, he decided to move north full-time, and helped found the Orange County shop’s space. “Architecturally, Port Jervis is beautiful. It’s always had good bones, but it doesn’t make sense why it hasn’t flourished,” notes Boone. “It’s the last stop on NJ Transit, right off of highway 84, and some 15,000 cars go by every day. We really believed there’s a significant opportunity there.”
Foundry42 features furniture (developed by Boone and artisan-designer Victor Salib) made of reclaimed wood, rolls of antique cloth, and locally made accessories. The café serves coffee from Minnesota, where the beans are roasted for the shop and shipped directly. “We have amazing, amazing curated coffee,” says Boone, “and signature baked goods.”
There are the “chip-chip cookies,” a sweet and salty concoction incorporating crunchy potato chips and chocolate morsels, and scones that are light and crumbly, dotted with currants. Boone also creates mini flourless chocolate cakes along with brownies that are dense and moist and muffins. The pies are the only item made offsite and are baked once they arrive at the store.
Unlike many Valley venues, the baked goods here don’t depend so much upon what’s in season, but are rooted in Boone’s mood. “It’s not based on harvest. It’s based upon always wanting to make something new and different and fresh and interesting.”
Although the “carbs and coffee” motto has stayed true since the shop opened, the café menu has expanded to include soups, quiche, and croissant sandwiches like chicken salad and caprese. A focus on cultivating health options in the beverage department has led to the addition of fresh pressed juices, turmeric lattes, and health boosters like matcha and chaga.
Just above the café is the second floor, which was formerly used as an event space. It’s now a furniture and art gallery space, much like a design studio. There is also seating so café-goers can relax comfortably and safely in this space, Renée Meola, director of happiness (a role that was formerly known as General Manager) says. Known as the Home Lab, this area was transformed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic so the store could continue to be a place that fosters community safely, Meola explains.
“Everything is for sale there, but it inspires people what to do with the things they already have,” Meola says. “It’s a great space to hang out in.”
Their goal since opening their doors has stayed the same, even with the addition of the Home Lab, and that is to act as a conduit for the Port Jervis community, Meola says. In 2017, Foundry42 was named the most innovative store in America by NYNOW and, in 2020, the Orange County Arts Council honored Cooper and the store as community contributors to the arts at their Art Affair gala.
In order to provide the most support for its customer base, Foundry42 has even expanded its operations online so people can order for curbside pickup or delivery.
“If people are shopping from home and trying to keep people safe, that’s something we really went deep into,” she adds.
The most exciting of all perhaps for the brand is the news of its first franchised store, which had its soft opening in Georgetown, Texas in mid-December 2020. This store will be rooted in the same values —uplifting local artists and people in the community there — while also carrying items that have become staples of Foundry42’s business in Port Jervis, like products from Middletown’s Finding Home Farms.
“We had no plans for franchising, however a dear friend of ours approached us and this has now blossomed into something bigger than we ever imagined,” Boone notes. “Franchising enables us to have a deeper reach around the Foundry42 brand, which is rooted in community and kindness. Who doesn’t want more of that?”
42 Front Street, Port Jervis