Story by Jim Striebich
From the moment you see its retro-chic logo protruding from the Flatiron Building, it’s clear that Bucko! is not your average downtown Peekskill shop.
The newest addition to our retail scene sets a high bar for interior design and product curation in this Hudson Valley city. Bucko! looks like a store you might find in Beacon, or Cold Spring – or for that matter in Williamsburg or the West Village.
That attention to detail is a credit to the wife and husband team of Katie and Brian Orsi, six-year Peekskill residents, who say they’ve wanted to open a shop here for ages, and when the iconic wedge-shaped space at the prow of the Flatiron became available this summer, they knew the timing was finally right.
“We’ve been wanting to open a shop for years,” says Katie. “We love the atmosphere that small shops create, their own little magical world, and we wanted to offer our own version of that in Peekskill.”
The couple actually met “over the counter”, when Katie ran an antiques store in Brooklyn. “Brian would come in all the time, and finally we struck up a conversation”. Ten years – and a 10-month-old son named Rowan – later, they plan to reverse roles – with Brian manning the store most days (in addition to his real estate business) while Katie continues commuting to Manhattan, where she works as the creative director at a historic foundry.
Indeed, Katie – who honed her creative and graphic design skills in the high-end interiors industry – did all of the graphic and environmental design for Bucko! herself; while Brian’s background in hospitality, nightlife, and sales has helped inform the customer experience, business plan – and even the product mix.
“Bucko! will offer some product lines that haven’t been available for Peekskill shoppers before” says Brian, showing me a pair of high-end selvedge duck canvas trousers from Canadian designer Naked & Famous, and an upscale hand soap from Catskills-based Hudson Made. “We’ll have something for everyone here – from higher-end gifts, to custom-made Peekskill-branded wearables – to $15 vintage clothing.”
The conversion of Esther Street to a popular new pedestrian plaza this fall came as an unexpected bonus for the Orsis, who had already signed their lease when the side street behind their store became a new downtown destination. Brian and Katie hope to use all three doors to the three-sided store, giving customers access from Esther Place, S. Division – as well as from inside the Peekskill Coffee House.
The Bucko! experience is all about the little details, say the Orsis, pointing out a 1970’s vintage black rotary wall telephone behind the retail counter. The phone is borrowed from Brian’s mother’s house in Niagara Falls. Brian had her ship it to Peekskill for the store, and he spent several weeks tinkering with tech hardware and phone providers to make it actually function – despite its throwback analog technology. “We could have gotten any old phone, but we want everything in the store to be special and authentic”.
When asked “what exactly does Bucko! mean?” – Brian clams up a bit, smiling and saying, “I’d rather not box it in – it’s whatever you want it to be.” Katie quickly interjects “I think what we want is for people to step out of the shop feeling better than when they stepped in; and the expression Bucko! evokes that spirit a bit!”
Bucko! Is located at 107 South Division Street in Peekskill. Grand opening is this Saturday, November 14th. Regular store hours: Noon – 8 pm Wednesdays – Fridays; 10 am to 6 pm weekends. www.buckoshop.com / 914-214-9143