Who is Fred? Where is Fred? What is Fred? Have you been to Fred? These are the questions that reverberated throughout Ulster County this holiday season. Event after gathering after event, FRED was one of the recurring topics of conversation. Very happily, I could readily attest to having been to FRED. So… what is FRED? Only the newest, coolest retail space in High Falls. FRED is one of those unique shops that is instantly entrancing. Entering FRED is like walking into a well-designed kaleidoscope. Within minutes of my arrival I spied gifts for friends, occasional pillows, stunning glassware, room accessories and furnishings galore. Frankly, as a designer, when I find a shop with personal appeal that also meets the needs of my clients, I consider it a great find. FRED is just exactly that type of space: a design-oriented business with a varied inventory whose price points cover a broad range. In other words, it’s a shop where you may design your home while purchasing the perfect birthday or hostess gift.
High Falls is no stranger to sensational design, shopping and dining venues. Over the years High Falls has been the launching pad for such acclaimed shops as the Blue Cashew, Spruce Design and Decor, and the High Falls Mercantile. Anchored with such businesses as Green Cottage Floral Design and Gifts, the Barking Dog Antiques and the Black Barn, High Falls has long been a shopping mecca in Ulster County. Restaurants like the Depuy Canal House, The Egg’s Nest and Murphy’s Bistro and Tavern also afford a wide range of dining opportunities. High Falls’ proximity to the Mohonk hiking trails, the rail trail, and its stunning physical appeal make it a no-brainer for an eat-shop-and-play experience.
FRED’s conceptualization, like most endeavors, evolved over a period of time. While training for the 2014 New York Marathon, New York interior designers Charles Farruggio and Michael Van Nort began to concoct the future of FRED. According to Michael and Charles, “running 4 to 8 to 12 hours a day provides an ample opportunity to formulate a business plan.” Recognizing the need for a new design-oriented business in High Falls, Farruggio and Van Nort began to debate potential names for their new enterprise. Wanting to create a curated shop whose merchandise appealed to a broad spectrum of clientele, finding the right name was essential. During the naming process certain names seemed too pretentious, others too design-focused. Then came FRED. FRED was indeed indisputably the perfect name for their shop. A shop visualized as a curated collection of high-end, vintage and modern pieces covering a range of price points. Given their collective backgrounds with such powerhouse names in the design industry, as Benjamin Noriega Ortiz, Jed Johnson, Donghia, Phillipe Stark and Holly Hunt, the shop’s arrangement is naturally stunning. In order to convey a sense of room design during the shopping experience, Farruggio and Van Nort refrained from the cluttering their shoppers’ plane of vision with display units and shelving. The resulting design effect is one of entering a beautifully arranged room where everything is for sale.
“We want to create a shop that features modern, vintage and charming furnishings with an appeal to weekenders and locals alike. We envision dual residents and their houseguests shopping alongside a regular local clientele.” If my first visit to FRED was any indication, it will soon become a shopping destination in the Hudson Valley. Indeed, FRED’s future sparkles brightly.
FRED will open this Friday, January 16 to Monday, January 19 for the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. After that, FRED will close briefly as Charles and Michael prepare for their grand opening on the President’s Day / Valentine’s Day weekend.