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One Mercantile

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Hudson’s White Rice Expands to Great Barrington

Rural Intelligence StyleWas the opening in mid-May of a Great Barrington branch of White Rice—the six-year-old Hudson shop selling apparel and antiques from Bali—part of a “crossover” trend as described by the astute social observer and blogger Sam Pratt? He draws a comparison between White Rice and other locally-owned “chains” like Hammertown Barn (Great Barrington, Pine Plains, Rhinebeck) and Baba Louie’s (Great Barrington, Hudson and soon Pittsfield.)  With its deep blue walls, boho vibe, and eclectic merchandise, White Rice feels like its karma was to be in Great Barrington.

Rural Intelligence Style Owners Rudy Huston (right) and Mary Vaughn Williams started their wholesale clothing company two decades ago after falling in love with Bali and its batik prints and wood furniture. For many years, they lived in New York City and shortly after 9/11 they decided they wanted to live a rural life. “But I wanted a little bit of the city in the country which is why we moved to Hudson,” says Huston. “We could open a shop and live upstairs and be with our children all the time.”  Although many of their regular customers in Hudson come from Connecticut and Massachusetts, they felt that they weren’t really tapping into the Berkshire/Litchfield market. “There are people who see Great Barrington and Hudson as very connected and others who seem them as very different worlds. Some people are intimidated by the grit of Hudson.”

Rural Intelligence StyleHuston sees synergy between the two towns, and he notes that one of the first customers at the new shop was a woman who lives in Hawthorne Valley which is right in between the two stores.  White Rice carries the kind of flowy, fun and feminine accessories and clothes that don’t cost a fortune—a cotton dress for $60, a rayon dress for $68, a sweater for $74—so customers keep coming back to buy more. Huston isn’t saying whether he’s thinking about a third store yet, but he’s very pleased with how number 2 has turned out.  “I’m a ‘chain store’ now,” he says happily.

White Rice
Main Street, Great Barrington; 413. 644.9200
Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

531 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.697.3500

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 06/03/10 at 02:19 AM • Permalink