In the best spaces, you immediately know you can be your real self, because the owner’s real self is everywhere you look. Such a place is Citiot, a village of Catskill outpost of all sorts of things wrapped in warm liveliness. “As our tagline on Instagram states,” says Pim Zeegers, founder of Citiot, “we have Local and European. Co-working & coffee-sipping. Fresh buys and vintage finds. Our shop can’t make up its mind and we dig that! I guess we have a theme lol. We sell a roster of retail items from gifts, books, art, T-shirts to pottery. Besides having a coffee corner with goodies, part of the store is a co-working space where you can rent a desk on a drop-in basis, for half a day or a full day.”
Zeegers grew up in a small eastern Netherlands town called Dalfsen, “a lot like Catskill.” He earned his media psychology degree at Utrecht University, married husband Gertjan Meijer, and polished his skills—and when the Big Apple called, he and Meijer were ready. “We got the opportunity to move to the US 12 years ago and did not think twice,” he says. “We moved to NYC in 2010, got a place in Catskill in 2016, and became full-timers three years ago. We have been loving it ever since.”
Downstate, Zeegers specialized in boutique travel and opened Pim Philip Experiences, while Meijer, a sales executive, directed project management and creative design in the retail space. Little did either of them know that those talents would one day blend gloriously into the recipe for Citiot.
“As long as I can remember I wanted to have a store and sell fun things, create a place of happiness.”
– Pim Zeegers, Owner, Citiot
The name was inspired by teasing from a born-and-raised local neighbor and good friend during a lawn mowing lesson soon after the pandemic turned the couple into full-time Catskillians. Secure in their welcome, Zeegers embraced the term with tongue just a bit in cheek and a footnote: True wisdom is knowing when one doesn’t know everything,
“I never knew what I wanted to do with my life!” Zeegers says. “Still don’t, in a way. I was and am interested in a lot of different things, but I like to have fun along the way, figuring it out. I am not the type of person that works towards retirement. I like to keep developing and hope to experience lots of inspiring endeavors in the future. I guess my main drivers are connecting, creativity, listening to my gut and utilizing my passions in life.”
One of those passions was always shopkeeping. “As long as I can remember I wanted to have a store and sell fun things,” he says. “Create a place of happiness. It always sounded kind of childish, something to fantasize about, not pursue in real life. But the pandemic made me rethink that idea and I decided to give it a go! And I am very happy I did.”
“You have to keep reinventing yourself to stay interesting, understand your customers and adapt to your surroundings.” – Pim Zeegers
“The goal was to create an inviting, inclusive, happy place where you can find something for your everyday needs, a beautiful space where people feel welcome.”
– Pim Zeegers, Owner, Citiot
So are the denizens of Catskill. Citiot opened in July of 2021 and was an immediate sensation. “Love, Love, Love this store!! As soon as you walk in, you feel so comfortable,” writes a reviewer on Google. “I love the merchandise that is well chosen and has so much style. Citiot supports local artists, exhibiting and selling their creations, such as the beautiful pottery in the back. I love the soundproof Zoom rooms next door. The coffee they sell is delicious! This was by far the best coffee I had in a long time. After my Cortado, I walked out with my Citiot Ground Coffee Bag. I can’t wait to come back. I found a lovely hangout place, not just a store.” The love and warmth draw in visitors from everywhere. “Our clientele is a great mix of people,” Zeegers says. “Locals, old and new ones of all ages, visitors, weekenders, and tourists. The goal was to create an inviting, inclusive, happy place where you can find something for your everyday needs, a beautiful space where people feel welcome.
A place where you can find something beautiful, hang out, work, shop, taste.” Catskill, he says, is the perfect place. “We have loved this little town since we found it, and this had to be the location. Hudson was already so established; it felt like Catskill’s Main Street was right at the beginning of a revival. In the past two years so much new energy has come to this town and new things are popping up left and right. There is a great mix of people, a lot of interesting makers, artists, musicians, and inspiring personalities. This town is just not so polished, which is what I like.”
Zeegers is Citiot’s owner; he and Meijer share managerial duties. “Some days we are baristas & sales associates, some days we manage the practicalities,” he says. “Most days we are a supporting act to the needs of our co-workers and the shop. We have a great team, and together we try to create energy and happy vibes—from silent disco dancing to live jazz, from pop-ups to exhibits! And the products we sell feed that vibe. Just to name some, we have kimonos, cool T-shirts, books, but also an extended pantry. Come by and check it out!”
It’s a clear case of the right people, right place, and right time. “I have a background in retail, among many other experiences that seem to fit perfectly into this,” Zeegers says. “I love people, marketing, collaborating, and being creative.
You have to keep reinventing yourself to stay interesting, understand your customers and adapt to your surroundings. I am just following my gut, doing everything I would like myself. Looking from the outside in, I guess what is different here is that we couldn’t make up our minds and offer a vast diverse array of products and services. Also, we are very people-centric and like to organize stuff.”
It’s a general store for the third millennium. “Some products are staples and some are limited-availability; once sold, they won’t come back. People respond really well to always having something new to explore,” says Zeegers. “We did a pop-up with Japanese wear and Anagama pottery; we worried that it might be too niche, but we sold so many kimonos! We decided to transform our rear space into an art gallery, and the shows we have done there were super successful. It’s a bit trial and error, but people are here for it!”
The store and hangout space have swiftly become integral to the fabric of this river village. “We are one of the initiators of First Fridays and every month we come up with something new,” says Zeegers. “Stay tuned to our Instagram. We announce all the news there, and you never know what might be next.”
In 2023, Zeegers plans to develop an online presence so that Citiot fans can visit and shop from wherever. Those of us lucky enough to live or hang out around here, though, shouldn’t miss a bricks-and-mortar visit. “We can shop online for almost everything, but we also like an experience and like to be surprised,” he observes. “The store is like a living organism. It changes all the time. And it is a very welcoming living organism!”
404 Main Street