Hudson Valley gift shopping pro tip: Don’t overlook Herzog’s Home and Paint Center, even if no one you’re buying for is working on a project or is longing for a circular saw. Their gift department, like all of their departments, is smart, sweet, and amazingly comprehensive.
Yes, Herzog’s flagship store in Kingston Plaza is encyclopedic when it comes to project stuff. If you need a power drill, a gallon of paint, some 2x4s or a shower head, you’ll be quickly guided to a selection of possibilities to choose from. Same goes for garden supplies, tile, window shades, or kitchen cabinets. They’ve got it all, and the expert staff to help you decide which of it you need, from interior design and decorating consultants to people who know how to fix lawn mowers. The vast array of best-in-class goods and services is what happens when a talented family devotes 114 years to the fine art of serving the community’s nesting needs. “Who we are isn’t a simple question for Herzog’s,” the store admits on their About Us page.
“Since we sell more than 50,000 products, it’s tough to narrow it down to just one word.” That’s been true for decades, but the gift department at the front of the store makes it nearly impossible. Herzog’s gift department concentrates on 10 categories: home décor; bath and body; clothing and accessories; jewelry; baby gear; games, puzzles, and stationery; tableware; garden; candles; and food. Within each category, you’ll find wonderful things that you didn’t know existed.
Herzog’s vast array of best-in-class goods and services is what happens when a talented family devotes 114 years to the fine art of serving the community’s nesting needs.
The philosophy is pure Herzog’s: Give the people what they want. “During COVID, when the Hudson Valley real estate market exploded, buying habits really changed,” says marketing and advertising manager Julie Jordan.
“Consumers wanted sustainable products that were locally sourced. Our gift department buyer, Michelle Harris, pivoted towards more ‘green’ products.” The result: a glorious maker’s mart that’s at your disposal seven days a week, with ample parking and free admission.
“I started here five years ago, and this looked very different,” says Harris. “The owner tasked me with reinventing the department: ‘Let’s switch it up. Let’s figure out how we can meet the community’s needs.’ So we kind of looked at the different niches that we could fill for our very diverse community.”
With that as a starting point, and with so many expert local makers seeking exposure, the possibilities blossomed. You’ll find Tree Juice maple syrup and ‘Upstate and Chill’ gear from Hamilton and Adams, Oliver Kita chocolates, and Woodstock Chimes.
There are original greeting cards from artist Cynla of Newburgh, Bjorn Qorn popcorn from Kerhonkson, and Sallye Ander soaps from Beacon. Local honey? Hot sauce? Handmade jewelry? Local trail guides and non-GMO seeds? It’s all right here.
“We have a unique mix of merchandise. We didn’t want to look like another gift store; we wanted to carry our own message.” - Gift department buyer, Michelle Harris
“We have a unique mix of merchandise,” says Harris. “I have jewelry that’s locally sourced, now, a lot of handcrafted items which youdon’t always find everywhere. We didn’t want to look like another gift store; we wanted to carry our own message.”
That message is sleek, deep, green—upcycled materials, like eco-friendly food wraps and reusable face wipes. “Sustainability is something our customers are deeply invested in,” says Harris. “They’re serious about it, and so are we.”
It’s also all about showing the local economy lots of love. Harris finds makers in all kinds of ways: at craft fairs, farmers’ markets, by word of mouth, by searching the website Faire for what’s good and new and local.
“We include local representation in every possible category. It’s a priority. We’re locals too,” Harris points out. “When you shop here, you’re helping keep dozens of people—me included—in jobs that we love, helping support all kinds of local organizations and events. It’s a big, beautiful circle.
And within the business, the gifts fit beautifully with, say, the garden department—they send people to me, I send people to them.”
In 2009, a century after Matthew Herzog first opened his paint, wallpaper and framing shop, Herzog’s had 100 employees. People work here for decades, socialize together; more than a few couples have met here and married, and their children in turn can come in for a first job or a lifelong career.
“Every day, from here to the lumberyard and back, we try to be better at doing it for you than we were the day before.” - Gift department buyer, Michelle Harris
“We try to stay on trend and do our homework,” says Harris. “There are so many brilliant people around here making beautiful things, and that’s what drives this, what we’re diving into here, and people are enjoying it, finding things they never knew existed that fit their lifestyles perfectly…If you look at the history of Herzog’s, they really are part of the backbone of the Kingston community, and it’s really all of us who make that happen: the owners, the people who’ve made careers here, and all of you who walk through the door and put your trust in us.
“We didn’t want to look like another gift store; we wanted to carry our own message.”
Every day, from here to the lumberyard and back, we try to be better at doing it for you than we were the day before.”
herzog’s home & paint centers
151 Plaza Road, Kingston