Open letter to the community: Hello Chappaqua, . . . from one of your loyal merchants

September 3, 2010
by Cindy Lupica

This past weekend an interesting thing happened that I would like to share with all of you.  I own the gift store in town called Marmalade Gift + Home.  We have a sidewalk sign that simply states “Gift Store Open” with an arrow that points in one direction.

It had gone missing for a few days and somehow, last Sunday unbeknownst to us, it got placed on the corner in front of Sotheby’s.  It could be seen if you were sitting at Susan Lawrence enjoying your Sunday coffee and Danish as well as if you were going to or coming from Starbucks. 

Well, let me tell you, that day proved to be the most interesting of days. Not only did we end up having a phenomenal day, sales-wise, but also there were at least four or five customers who thanked us profusely for being open.  One man even gave us credit for “saving my life;” apparently he had not realized that his anniversary was that Sunday until that morning . . . oops! The other customers were just so happy to be able to stay close to home as opposed to having to drive all the way to White Plains to The Westchester.  It was that little sign that alerted people to the fact that here at Marmalade we are open on Sunday, as we always have been.

Food for thought

It got me to thinking though: We have advertised that we are open on Sundays on our web site, through our email list and even handed out flyers, but nothing did the job like that little sign.  Then on Monday I got an email from the town saying that someone had complained about our sign and we needed to move it.  So I did.  But, like I said, it has now got me thinking about two things.

First, if everyone was so happy to stay local and not have to drive a half hour south to shop, then shouldn’t more merchants here be open on Sunday?  And second, it’s amazing what the right signage can do.  I really wish that we could all put our heads together to stay within code restrictions, and yet have better exposure for our stores.  If cute little towns like Nantucket can achieve that, I don’t see why all of us in Chappaqua can’t figure out how to do that successfully as well. 

If you would, please take a second to post a comment at the end of this letter identifying which of our businesses you’d like to see open on Sundays.

Cindy Lupica is one of Chappaqua’s downtown merchants who is ever interested in making downtown Chappaqua “the” place to be.  Not only does she run the successful gift store, Marmalade, across from Starbuck’s, but she has launched a new venture here in Chappaqua, Studio Marmalade, which is the town’s newest ballet studio for kids ages 3-6.  You can get more info about the new ballet studio at, and about Marmalade generally at or her blog

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Chappaqua is not one of those “cute little towns like Nantucket.” Nantucket is a vacation spot. And, as anyone knows who has been there recently, its cuteness quotient is much reduced by the flood of tourists. Chappaqua is residential. May it stay that way.

I am sorry that business is not better to allow Marmalade to close on Sunday. For many residents, Sunday is still the sabbath. That is an increasingly antiquated concept, I know. Still, it would be a good thing if our merchants gave it the courtesy of a thought.

By Maureen Mullarkey on 09/03/2010 at 8:27 am

Consider this: For most residents in New Castle, I suspect that Sunday is largely a day of rest rather than of worship, and if they’re going to need goods on that day why not capture their custom?  If more shops were open on Sunday we’d all see one another more, just as on Saturday that farm market may help to lend a little bustle and a little commonality to town life.  We’re not all church-goers or loners.  Why not get more merchants on board for Sunday hours and see what happens?  It’s worked for Marmalade.

By On the other hand on 09/03/2010 at 9:12 am

I think it would be great if the stores in Chappaqua were opened on Sunday.  This way we would not have to go to the mall and could shop right in our hometown!  It may bring out of towners here too, who are looking for a Sunday activity in a beautiful small town.  Finally, for those of us trying to sell our houses,it is great for potential buyers to see a robust town center.

By Aimee on 09/03/2010 at 9:16 am

Cindy, I think that is a great idea to have shops open on Sunday.  It is a bit of a hassel to go to the mall to shop if we need something last minute.  Plus, I think it is just fun to get a bite to eat at one of our great restaurants and then go shopping!!

By Donna Lanza on 09/03/2010 at 9:25 am

Chappaqua’s little village used to be a lot more prosperous and a fun place to shop around. I applaud Marmalade’s continued success at looking beautiful and I would hope they attract more shoppers.  Personally, I think a sign on the corner on Sunday would be fine.  (It’s a lot easier to take than another empty storefront.)

And, yes, we’re not all church-goers.

By Rose Cohen on 09/03/2010 at 9:36 am

In a town where children routinely attend birthday parties and sporting events on Sundays, doesn’t it make sense for stores to be open? I think it’s a great idea. Anything to keep mom-and-pop businesses in the town. Let’s face it, I can go to Amazon and ebay on a Sunday. Why should our stores miss out?

By Agree with on the other hand on 09/03/2010 at 9:48 am

I am ashamed to confess that I don’t even consider the downtown a destination during weekdays, when most of us aren’t around anyway. For me, the weekend is the only potential time to enjoy the town center, and without Sunday hours that cuts the chances in half.

For the record, I can’t imagine that any of our merchants could even conceive of anything garish in the way of signage.

But what are the prospects of attracting a Sunday Farmer’s Market to any of the abundant open spaces right adjacent to our wee commercial section? Isn’t foot traffic mother’s milk to storefronts? Couldn’t some of our merchants table up at one of these—yes, on a Sunday? Mightn’t “Table,” which I hear is branching out here from Bedford, lead this particular charge?

By John C Abell on 09/03/2010 at 10:05 am

Unfortunately, I avoid going to downtown Chappaqua to shop on any day of the week for a host of reasons, including horrible traffic, bad parking, and high prices.  Chappaqua prides itself on being unwelcoming and backward.  (Gee, when were stop lights invented?  Can’t have them because they’d ruin our town’s quaintness.  Never mind how many near accidents people get into.)  But guess what? You don’t have to go to White Plains to shop on Sunday.  Mount Kisco has plenty of stores that will welcome you and lots of parking (free on Sundays).  Anyone who wants to rest on Sunday can go ahead, but there’s no need to push your religious views on others.

By Good luck on 09/03/2010 at 10:44 am

Yes—Having stores open on Sunday is great for our community!! Go Cindy!!

By ShopNewCastle on 09/03/2010 at 10:57 am

Great idea! I wish EVERY store in town was open on Sunday. For all of us working mothers, we have to get everything done on Saturday, in addition to sports, etc. Would love to be able to shop locally on Sunday! I would much prefer to give business to local merchants than to Target or stores in the Westchester.

By Working Mom on 09/03/2010 at 11:15 am

I agree with Cindy Lupica and fully support more shops being open and more visable signage—sounds like a great idea that will help both the shops and the shoppers. 

(Meanwhile, while I don’t have any problem with signs for businesses in town, I wonder whether other people mind the many signs displayed throughout the residential neighborhoods advertising painters, roofers, etc. Those I personally find to be an eyesore.)

By Robin Murphy on 09/03/2010 at 11:58 am

Totally agree shops should be open on Sunday. People can enjoy their own “sabbath” when they feel like it.  It would especially be nice to have the food shops open which would encourage more folks to go into town.

By Old Time Resident on 09/03/2010 at 12:41 pm

I love the Marmalade store, and if better signage – as long as it is tasteful – brings more people in, I am all for it.  I am in Chappaqua village more often on Sundays because I go to church, so it convenient for me to observe the sabbath and then shop.  Susan Lawrence is usually open on Sundays which I have always found convenient too.  I think trade will increase for all our village stores once the bridge construction is completed.  We are lucky to have the fine businesses that we do have, I look forward to supporting them more in the future.

By Jamie C. on 09/03/2010 at 1:51 pm

I agree that it would be great for the shops to be open on Sunday – even if it were for a few hours during the day. Several shops are open on Sunday during the Christmas holidays so why not during the year? And I also agree with the working woman who has to get everything done on Saturday. Having Sunday as an option would be fantastic.  And why is religion coming into this discussion? This should be about economics and how to help our local merchants thrive in this poor economy.

By YS on 09/03/2010 at 5:30 pm

First of all, go Cindy!  Its always great to hear that neighborhood stores are thriving.  I don’t care what day of the week it is, I like to hear success stories.

Second of all, Ms. Mullarkey is offensive.  While I value her right to worship on whatever day that she considers the Sabbath, she cannot and should not impose her religious requirements on other residents of this town.  Not everyone considers Sunday to be the Sabbath.  Plus, aren’t we all aware – at this point – of separation of church and state??  Ms. Mullarkey, we don’t expect to see you in Marmalade on Sunday.  But you have no right to tell others not to be there (or to discourage merchants from opening on Sundays).

By what’s religion got to do with this?? on 09/03/2010 at 9:00 pm

I’d like to address the first comment made………my decision to open Marmalade on Sundays really had nothing to do business being good or bad (thankfully, business is very good), my decision had to do with the business standards that I apply to myself.  I was very vocal during the economic downturn about how people should support their local stores, but I was equally vocal about the fact that if I, as a merchant, expected people to stay local then I had to offer them the same level of service they would get by going to White Plains to shop.  Therein came the decision to be open on Sundays, if a customer could get a gift in White Plains on a Sunday then it was my responsibility to open Marmalade on Sundays as well.

As far as religion, well, I’m not touching that one other than to say that we open a little later than we do during the week in order for anyone that works for me to be able to attend any kind of service they would like to.

By marmalade on 09/05/2010 at 11:11 am

For those who live in town and wish to stay home on Sunday, that’s fine.  Some of us prefer to be out and about and get things done.  I was pleasantly surprised one Sunday to find Marmalade open.  I was also surprised to see that a majority of the other stores in town were not.  Another observation was a handful of people walking around aimlessly, possibly having taken the train into town thinking there would be things to do.  With 190+ houses on the market in the district and people coming up from the city to decide where to set up their nest, the town should be more alive on Sunday.

By Fairly new to town on 09/07/2010 at 8:06 am

I love your store and think it one of the bright spots among the ubiquitous nail salons, jewelry stores, dry cleaners and pizza shops (snooze!!). My comment is more focused on how we can get more unique destination shops in town like Marmalade. Regardless if it’s Sunday or a weekday Chappaqua needs to be less of a ghost town and needs a thriving downtown. It’s pretty pathetic! Let’s get those vacant store fronts filled with something worthy. I am new here—what’s the deal? Why does this town allow for such poor choices in local business ventures. Why is this town so uninspired in how we approach supporting merchants? Seriously does anyone know?

By Ghost town needs to come alive on 09/09/2010 at 11:20 pm

Yes local! Yes Marmalade (one of the loveliest shops around)! & Yes Sunday! Please remember, for some people Saturday is Sabbath so the having options is just right!

By A true local on 09/11/2010 at 8:22 pm

I was on my way to to Newark Airport to drop off a dear friend who was flying back to California the Sunday after Thanksgiving…we stopped at Starbucks to delay the inevitable good-bye.  While walking to the car we noticed that Marmalade was open…..we looked at each other…smiled….oh, let’s just peek in for a few minutes….we were greeted by Cindy, who was delightful….the charming atmosphere cheered us up…..such creative, whimsical and reasonably priced gifts.  She happily purchased holiday gifts for her children that she was leaving behind in college….she didn’t even have her credit card with her at the time….Cindy said…don’t worry, I trust you!!!
Wow…one does not hear that anymore….of course, my friend returned in 5 minutes to complete the transaction.  My point being….it was heartfelt to be treated with kindness
and respect.  I plan on bringing all my friends….including Sunday.  Thanks, Cindy

By a resident since 1987 on 12/03/2010 at 5:55 pm

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