Millerton won’t be the same ….

Millerton will soon be losing a piece of its history, with the impending closure of the iconic Saperstein’s. On Main Street for 70 years, Saperstein’s has long met the needs of not only village residents, but of those living around the entire Tri-state region.

The store, best described as a department store — the ultimate in one-stop shopping — offers everything from shoes and socks to coveralls and winter jackets. It has hats and T-shirts, Scout uniforms and bathing suits (and so much more!), but it also offers shoe repair and tuxedo rentals — services not too common in these parts any more. 

How many times have we heard, if you can’t find it anywhere else, go to Saperstein’s? And so often, that advice has been spot-on, with long-sought items waiting to be discovered inside the well-stocked shop.

Sitting at the top of Main Street, with its white block-print lettering on a can’t-be-missed orange-colored sign — and that wonderfully scenic agricultural mural on its exterior side wall — Saperstein’s is one of the first associations that comes to mind when someone mentions Millerton. 

Its owner, Lewis Saperstein, has been there for 40 years. After taking over the business from his father, Irving, Lew made the store his own.

Over the years, Lew has been a regular participant in village life. He’s a member of the Millerton Gun Club and has volunteered his time with the Millerton Lions Club and the Millerton American Legion Post 178. He’s also served on the Millerton Merchants’ Association, helping figure out ways to make the village as attractive as possible to visitors and locals alike. And thanks in part to his efforts, it’s worked. Millerton has even been named one of the top 10 coolest places in the U.S. by Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine. 

During the past decade-plus it’s received numerous other accolades, but almost all stem from the vibrant shopping district created through a collaboration between merchants and residents — unspoken at times but always evident.

But it’s taken work, a lot of work. Lew, who lives in Pleasant Valley, has commuted to the job every day for the past four decades. That kind of wear and tear takes its toll. So does years of running a successful store in today’s competitive marketplace — especially as one grows older.

Though it was a difficult decision, said Lew, it wasn’t made hastily. He took his time thinking it through, and in the end decided to put the store that he nurtured for so long up for sale. Lew is hoping that Saperstein’s will continue on, and that a buyer will purchase the existing business as is. We’re hoping so, too. 

Without Saperstein’s, the village will be sorely lacking. For the past seven decades it’s served as an anchor in the business district. It’s one of the few places on Main Street that carries essentials. The absence of Saperstein’s will hit a lot of locals hard — and again, we hope the business will be bought in its entirety and continue on for years to come.

Right now, Lew employs five people — all of whom have done their best over the years to meet our collective needs. There’s no question that when the store goes, the whole crew will be missed — but there’s no chance they’ll be forgotten.

Thanks, Lew, for so many years of great service. And thanks, too, for making the corner of Main Street and Dutchess Avenue so recognizable — it’s become synonymous with the vibrancy and endurance of the Millerton community.