Simply walking in the door here is good medicine. The walls are packed with abstract art, rich jewel tones inviting the eye to dance. Sleek Midcentury Modern furnishings take you back in time. Everywhere you look, there’s something lovely to explore: whisper-soft silk scarves, quirky accent pieces, gleaming glassware. The music is upbeat; the aroma of fine fresh coffee wafts from the back of the store.
Magic Hill Mercantile’s Kingston outpost is the newer of two stores dreamed into existence by Bruce Mishell and Maor Shefer.
You will get a warm welcome at the Kingston outpost of Magic Hill Mercantile: It’s the newer of two stores that have been dreamed into existence by Bruce Mishell and Maor Shefer, best friends whose creative partnership has birthed bountiful beauty. “A lot of what you see is based on my artwork,” says Mishell. “Those are posters of my paintings, and on the top there are my silk scarves—we frame them so people can see what they look like. They’re mulberry silk—we use very high-quality fabrics in all our fashion. Maor designs the pieces, and we have them made all over the world, in Italy and China and Vietnam.… We started putting the art on those lacquer trays, then came coasters, and then the fashion, everything from ties to socks to sweatshirts. Then there are the pillows…”
Magic Hill began in Hudson with a trove of Midcentury Modern furniture and a gallery in the back; when they needed to move to a smaller space, the gallery was sacrificed. “A customer told us she had this building in Kingston,” says Mishell, “and it offered us the scope we were looking for. We were rapidly outgrowing the Hudson space, and we wanted a department store feeling.”
The pair met in Manhattan, where their mutual interests—real estate and design—led them to a successful niche that worked well.
The Kingston store, with almost 8,000 square feet, has a coffee and juice bar in the back; upstairs, you’ll find more furniture, sourced worldwide and marketed in online auctions as well as in the two shops.
“I had a day job as an interior designer, with my own design company on 5th Avenue and a little studio in the same building,” says Mishell. “I was designing corner offices for CEOs and painting at night. I had a show in 2007 that did really well, and I decided to close my design company and paint full time. Lo and behold, the economy crashed a year later.” His friend Shefer, a jazz musician and kindred spirit from the start, led him to venture into real estate; soon after that, the two were collaborating on upscale staging work for owners and investors, sourcing furniture from all over.
Shefer fell in love with the city of Hudson and moved upriver in 2015, and it was further serendipity that led them to open a furniture store.
“We were playing with the idea, and then we’re walking down the street there and ran into this woman we knew, an artist who owned a building on Warren Street, and asked her if she’d be interested in renting. She hadn’t been marketing it yet, but she said yes, and we just walked in and made the deal.” Four years later, when the building was sold, the Magic Hill team moved just down the street to their current space in the city of Hudson.
The Hudson Valley outpost and long weekends upstate were a revelation for Mishell, who still lives downstate part-time. “I never used to leave the city unless it was a major vacation. I was a New Yorker, you know; everything happened there. But after coming up here…I have the best of both worlds, and I absolutely love it.”
Shefer’s design and business sensibilities sparked Mishell’s readiness to get his painting further out into the world—not just on canvas, but on fabric and home goods, bright bursts of joyous, flowing color to brighten every aspect of life. “Creatively, he’s really helped me take it to the next level,” says Mishell. “Our styles and personalities just complement each other really well.”
And the Kingston store, with almost 8,000 square feet, is proving to be a canvas all its own on which the partners can create their Magic Hill brand and dream. There’s a coffee and juice bar in the back; upstairs, you’ll find more furniture. The diverse and beautiful inventory at Magic Hill is sourced worldwide, and it is marketed in online auctions as well as in the two shops.
“Creatively, [Maor] has really helped me take it to the next level. Our styles and personalities just complement each other really well.” —Bruce Mishell, Magic Hill Mercantile co-owner
“We knew, coming in here, that the foot traffic during the week wouldn’t sustain things,” says Mishell. “But we’ve established ourselves in Hudson, and we have strong connections to designers in the city—people come into Kingston from Woodstock or wherever and recognize our brand. And we’re getting people coming in when there’s a wedding, say, at the Senate Garage; they’ll buy a gift and then come back for more. We get a lot of repeat business in both stores.”
“I love talking to people, seeing what makes them tick, and seeing how they react to my art… I really love what we do.” – Bruce Mishell
It’s easy to see why that might happen. The lush colors, sumptuous fabrics, and fine quality are a feast for the senses. “I love Magic Hill - their collection offers the BEST combination of classic, unique & creative styles, colors and shapes,” writes a reviewer on Google. “They source the best fabrics; materials that look and feel amazing & beg to be worn again and again! I wear my silk scarves every day as they are the perfect complement to any outfit. Their service is top notch as they go above and beyond the norm to make your shopping experience totally bespoke, fun and fabulous. When I need a unique gift for someone special, I go to Magic Hill for the ‘where did you find this!?’ wow factor, as their expansive unique range delivers every time.”
On the third floor of the building is Mishell’s studio and gallery, where shows and events will be held. At this writing, the team is awaiting a 40-foot shipping container of furniture sourced on a recent journey to Copenhagen to replenish their (far from empty, but Mishell says it feels “a bit sparse” to him at the moment) second floor.
Certain pieces—a vintage Philco TV, a gleaming golden bicycle that resembles something from a magical dream world—are part of the permanent decor here; more pieces will find new homes and new lives with lucky buyers in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
Come see Magic Hill for yourself, and you’ll see why it’s grown from a little vintage furniture store to a spacious mercantile spread between two locations—and why it’s rapidly turned into a brand that’s becoming a must-have. The coffee’s delicious, the welcome is warm, and the visual impact is simply entrancing.
“I’m a Gemini with the gift of gab,” says Mishell. “I love talking to people, seeing what makes them tick, and seeing how they react to my art. It’s a very personal thing for me, and I really love what we do.”
magic hill mercantile
328 Wall Street, Kingston
307 Warren Street, Hudson