The Heart & Soul of Rhinebeck’s Paper Trail (Part 1: At Work)
Indie card and party stores are an endangered species. When I need a birthday card, wrapping paper and candles for a cake, I unfortunately find myself heading too often to CVS, Stop & Shop or, most depressingly, Rite Aid. So it’s no wonder that the first time I walked into Paper Trail in Rhinebeck it felt like a mirage. Here was a stationery store with personality, pizazz and polish—the kind of well-merchandised boutique where the prosaic paper cocktail napkins are curated so that you want to study every package and you find yourself filling a shopping basket with notecards, paper plates, candles, amusing little books and all manner of ephemera that you will keep in the closet as last-minute gifts. Paper Trail is the three-year-old love child of Maureen Missner and Serine Hastings, who have been friends for a quarter of a century. The two Midwesterners met at Crate & Barrel in Chicago when that store was a cutting-edge retailer. For twenty years, they have run The Loom Company, a New York based home-and-fashion showroom that represents makers of ceramic and glass tableware, frames, desktop and decorative accessories, handbags and jewelry.
Missner has owned a house in Clinton Hollow (12 miles from Rhinebeck) for twenty years, and it has always been more of her spiritual home than Manhattan. “Paper Trail is my ticket to being a full-time country resident,” says Missner, who now only spends two or three days a week in the city. While talking to Missner about Paper Trail, it becomes clear that only a very sentimental person could pull off such a stylish yet soulful stationery store. “You celebrate life’s occasions in the stationery business,” she explains. “The best selling cards are for birthdays. The second best-sellers are sympathy cards.” She loves helping brides with their invitations and is gratified that several women who got married shortly after the store opened are now coming back to order baby announcements. While Paper Trail has a sophisticated big city feel, it has small-town values. And contrary to perceived wisdom, Missner says that weekenders are not her best customers. “I knew we had to have a local client base for acceptance and survival,” she says. “In our third week, a retired teacher from the Rhinebeck public schools named Dot walked into the store and said, “Oh this is wonderful.” That was when I knew we were going to make it.”
6423 Montgomery Street, #6, Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.8050
Monday - Saturday 11 AM - 6 PM; Sunday 11 AM - 4
To see how Maureen Missner lives at home, Click here