North Creek Saratoga-North Creek Railway officials have finally cleared one of the major hurdles to reopening the retail space at the former Mountain and Boardertown ski shop on Main Street — they have a new name.
The long-vacant storefront will become the Village Shops at North Creek, according to Debra Goodman, special events director at Iowa Pacific Holdings. That company operates scenic excursions on four railways in the U.S., including the Saratoga-North Creek Railway.
Iowa Pacific is renting the space at the former Mountain and Boardertown location in the Grand Union plaza, in tandem with its local railroad operations, in order to help North Creek create more foot traffic downtown.
“You’ve got to have that shopping experience,” Goodman said. “It took an attitude of ‘I’m willing to do whatever it takes.’”
Village Shops at North Creek was the vision and pet project of Iowa Pacific Holdings President Ed Ellis.
“I’ve not seen him do anything like this at any of his railroads,” Goodman said. “It shows his commitment to the railroad and to North Creek.”
Why North Creek?
“There’s a synergy here,” Goodman said.
The original vision of the retail space has changed from a layout where vendors could have their own booths to a more wide open layout where vendors’ items would be spread throughout the store on consignment.
Improvements to the store are almost finished. The former climbing wall was dismantled and taken away when the store closed, and it will be turned into an art wall where local artists will be able to show their works. Artists receptions and other events are expected in the future.
“It’s a fabulous gathering space,” she said, pointing to the amenities leftover from Mountain and Boardertown, including the winding stream through the store, the professional stage lighting on the ceiling, and the autumn trees and false storefronts lining the walls. The bridge hanging behind the front counter will be removed. Eventually, there will be a sitting area, a coffee counter and possibly a concessions stand.