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Plain Goods in New Preston

Plain Goods Offers the Best of the Best

Written by Joseph Montebello
Photos by Zlatko Batistich

Before entering this very special boutique, one takes notice of the building in which it is housed. It is situated at the end of the shopping mecca that is New Preston and is a prime example of what can be done with a historic building when placed in the right hands. And there are none better than those of Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry, co-owners of Plain Goods. Henry O. Erickson Pavilion Hall, named after a local resident who was a much-loved community volunteer, was built in 1897 as a community hall for concerts, plays, and celebrations. Most recently it had been home to the Boys and Girls Club of New Preston. DePerno and Fry realized the importance of saving the building, took up the cause, and spent a year restoring the 6,000 square-foot space. As a testament to this effort, Plain Goods received the 2019 Award of Merit from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

Plain Goods, New Preston, CT
Plain Goods, New Preston, CT

“The building itself is an important aspect of our success,” explains DePerno. “We repurposed materials, including original paneling and windows, so that it feels authentic but modern and relevant. It gives us this incredible canvas as a backdrop for our merchandise.”

In the original shop around the corner, a mere 700 square feet, there was a concentration on home and accessories and selected clothing lines. With the expanded space every category has grown. While the name suggests the simple aesthetic of past dry goods stores, there is nothing plain about this shop.

“The first floor is primarily home furnishings, children’s, and lifestyle,” says DePerno. “Upstairs is mostly clothing for men and women, with antique and vintage furniture and lighting mixed in. A lot of the surfaces used for display are for sale as well.”

Plain Goods, New Preston, CT
Plain Goods, New Preston, CT

For DePerno, who has owned shops in New York and California, and Fry, whose background is in fashion public relations, marketing, and branding, Plain Goods is the perfect venue in which to showcase their innate style and taste. They complement each other in that DePerno describes himself as a collector, while Fry tends more toward minimalism.

“We attend fashion shows, home shows, and antique fairs in Europe. Andrew and I share a singular vision and understanding of what our brand is, what our point of view is, and then edit what we’ve seen.” Indeed it is one of the things customers value. Everything is thoughtfully chosen and displayed. Nothing is superfluous.

Plain Goods, New Preston, CT
Plain Goods, New Preston, CT

“The most rewarding aspect of having a business like this is to get to know the people who come in and appreciate what we do,” says Fry. “It’s what makes coming to work so special. Over time our clients become our friends as well.”

Fry oversees the visuals and catalogs, creating stories that evoke a perfect lifestyle. Navigating the website is like taking a highly curated tour of the best merchandise available.

But nothing beats visiting the shop in person (mask in place) and enjoying the real thing.

Plain Goods
17 East Shore Road, New Preston

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