On the same block in Midtown Kingston as the Ulster Performing Arts Center, on Broadway between Cornell and O’Neil Street, there’s an unassuming storefront that’s easy to pass by without noticing the treasures on display. find there. A new LED-lit sign is being created to alert the neighborhood that what used to be called Ye Olde Book Shoppe has reopened as Rewind Kingston, with a new focus to appeal to a younger crowd: fashion trendy thrift store and recycled clothing. and gifts.
Oh, the books are still there: thousands of them, some displayed for sale in the back of the store and many more stored in two back rooms and in the basement. The Flood family’s current owners – mum Joanne, dad Kevin and brothers Karlie, Jake and Sydney – inherited a huge inventory when they bought the building from its longtime owners, the aunt and uncle of Joanne, Mary and Rich Williams. The Williams had opened the original Ye Olde Book Shoppe in Ulster Park, then moved it to the space that is now the UPAC box office before finally moving across the street to 612 Broadway .
The Floods, Kingston natives then living in California, became interested in buying the bookstore when Aunt Mary died in 2019. Uncle Richie was sick and their son didn’t want to take over the business. They had already been contracted and ready to return to Kingston at the time of Richie’s death in early 2020. And then COVID hit. They couldn’t reopen the store right away, so the Floods worked on renovations and thought about what kind of business they wanted it to be in the future.
Selling some of the inventory helped keep Floods afloat during the pandemic. “My aunt had thousands of Barbies. They paid the bills on eBay,” says Joanne. “There were so many in new condition in boxes.” They sold over 1,500 items before opening the store, but collectors can still find unsold Barbie dolls and outfits in one of Rewind’s stockrooms.
But the real attraction is up front. Just a few blocks from Kingston High School, Rewind is quickly becoming a mecca for teenagers looking for stylish and affordable clothing. The main buyer is sister Sydney, who currently lives in New York, has a passion for “thrift stores” and haunts “warehouses, last chance places, eBay and auctions”, according to her mother. “Children love all clothes. We used to do savings pop-ups before we opened the store.
Second-hand clothes are all washed before being put on the shelves. There are other displays of “dead stock”: new clothes obtained at very bargain prices, many of which have been creatively recycled with screen prints, bleach, ice dye and tie-dye , patches and other modifications. “Everything new is sustainable,” says Joanne.
Art prints, note cards, t-shirts and other merchandise featuring Sister Karlie’s designs are prominently displayed at the front of the store. His collages and poetry are posted on an Instagram account called Reminders to My Future Self which reaches over 16,000 followers (www.instagram.com/reminderstomyfutureself).
Another section of the store is a sanctuary for a daughter and brother now present only in spirit, memory, and inspiration: Cassidy Flood, who died in November 2020 while attending SUNY New Paltz and living off campus. An exceptional student/athlete, very outgoing and normally “bubbly with life,” in her mother’s words, Cass had recently struggled with persistent depression and anxiety. She was also “impulsive” and possibly bipolar, although she was never officially diagnosed as such.
Cass and her family faced tremendous challenges in their efforts to get proper mental health treatment for her during the pandemic, when most healthcare facility resources were focused on meeting the needs of patients dying from COVID. Social distancing policies kept her away from the peer group emotional support she needed; SUNY students weren’t even allowed to visit friends in other dorms back then. A brief stint as an inpatient in a mental institution was a spectacular misfire: “She was afraid of the other people in there. They were much sicker than her,” says Joanne.
Cass’ psychotherapists continued to change as she transferred from one program to another, despite her mother’s relentless advocacy. “I think every person was trying hard,” says Joanne. But what she describes as a “perfect storm” of loneliness and despair came together on November 29. The toxicology report confirmed that Cass had taken all the drugs she had on hand at once: a lethal dose. She was only 19 and the overwhelmed US healthcare system had abandoned her.
The trauma of losing their beloved daughter and sister is a big part of the glue that binds the Flood family together in their shared vision to make Rewind something special that will feel especially welcoming to other young women like her. LoveCass, a full line of products inspired by the life, philosophies and passions of Cassidy, fills and overflows a display along one wall of the store. There are tees, hoodies and hats, totebags, water bottles, candles and other necessities emblazoned with the heart-shaped LoveCass logo. Joanne purchased a Cricket vinyl cutter to make the stencils.
The Floods donate 10% of all sales and 100% of LoveCass collectibles to nonprofit organizations that help young people with mental illnesses. Their current preferred beneficiary is United We Om (www.unitedweom.org), which offers trauma-informed training in the use of yoga, meditation, and breathwork for teachers and others who work with young people. Last March, the family also held a group fundraising “polar dive” in the freezing Hudson River on what would have been Cassidy’s 21st.st birthday. “His friends have just arrived. It was a real community. Two girls came over from California for the dive. The final tally: $16,000 raised in donations from approximately 50 participants.
Another such event may be in the works for winter 2023, but in the meantime, the Floods want Rewind to become something of a community center for young people who may also be struggling with psychological issues. There is a list of resource links on the website (www.rewindkingston.com), and the family plans to create an exhibit of books and journals related to mental health. Or you might just want to pop in to check out the cute clothes, socks, affordable art, die-cut recycled metal holiday ornaments, books, or Barbies.
Rewind Kingston is located at 612 Broadway. It is closed Monday to Wednesday and open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/Rewind-Kingston/100054361939435 and on Instagram at @rewindkingston.
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