Daily Heller Gives Us a License to Shop

Design author, historian, collector and all around mensch Steve Heller stopped by the shop with his fabulous wife Louise Fili.  They are the ultimate collectors of packaging and design ephemera and have the books to prove it.  I’ve run into them at flea markets and book shows for years.

We’re flattered that they enjoyed Hunter Bee and liked our quirky collection of objects. Steve asked me a few questions about how I made the transition from graphic designer to shop keeper.  His terrific blog for Print Magazine, The Daily Heller is a must-subscribe.

Check it out here:

“There is a revival going on in the small Dutchess County town of Millerton, New York,  a few miles west of the Litchfield, Ct., border. Among the new businesses is the shop, Hunter Bee. Turns out the first name belongs to Kent Hunter, veteran graphic designer, former partner at Frankfurt Balkind and current partner of Post + Beam. Hunter recently settled in Millerton with his partner Jonathan Bee and took over a shop on main street that features American country and industrial pieces to mid-century design classics with quirky folk art and the occasional found object thrown in for interest. During a recent visit, I asked Hunter about his new life after graphic design.”

Williamsburg on the Hudson

From the venerable general store his grandparents opened in 1919, where you can get hunting knives, cigars, worms, khaki pants and copies of Vogue, Phil Terni has watched Dutchess County’s passing parade for most of his 68 years.

The store has seen celebrated customers — Babe Ruth, Ava Gardner, Artie Shaw, Ruth Bader Ginsburg — amble in and out. And Mr. Terni has seen Millerton prosper as an agricultural crossroads with three hotels served by three railroads, and then decline toward irrelevance as the milk processing plant shut down and the farms died. Still, none of that has prepared him for what he sees outside his door every day.

“Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected this,” he said in the back of the store, with its black-and-white photos of old locomotives, a giant Revolutionary War oil painting, bric-a-brac from a century of small-town commerce. “This never would have entered my mind.”

And yet there it is, everywhere you look: the old diner, renamed the Oakhurst and now serving gourmet curried chicken rolls, organic burgers and venison chili cheese fries; Eckert Fine Art, with its paintings by Eric Forstmann and Robert Rauschenberg; the fliers for the Buddhist Path of Fulfillment retreat; the sustainable agriculture benefit; the artsy, SoHo-esque Hunter Bee antiques; the three-screen Moviehouse on Main Street with its art gallery and cafe.

Read full article here:

Hunter Bee featured on Refinery29!

We were humbled and excited to wake up this morning and find we were featured in Refinery29’s article “5 Secret Shopping Destinations Less Than 3 Hours From NYC”.

Apart from having one of our gallery images on the article intro page, you can find us in the Millerton, NY section on Page 5.

Come pay us a visit, we’d love to help you find something unique for your home! Directions and hours here. Hope to see you soon!

Ex-Club Kid Makes Good With Collectibles

From The Village Voice:

Jonathan Bee was an old-school club kid in the Limelight days, but don’t hold that against him. He was always an enterprising sort, editing a magazine and doing other creative stuff that elevated him from the frantic club proceedings that some others got overly sucked into.

And now he’s co-owner (with Kent Hunter) of a really cool antiques store called Hunter Bee up in Millerton, New York.

The sizable boutique has folk-art objects, fashion, and furniture, all with a twist and a history. From the fascinating faces and body parts to the vase-laden cabinet and of course that all-American basic — the wheel — this is the kind of rustic glory that country living affords you. It may not reinvent the wheel, but it restores it and resells it!

Hunter Bee Brings A Flea Market Aesthetic to Millerton

From the Rural Intelligence:

For many years, Kent Hunter and Jonathan Bee spent weekends visiting flea markets and antiques fairs, buying furniture and funky decorative objects that they had no room for in their apartment in New York. They stored their finds in Bee’s parents house in Great Barrington. “When the basement filled up, we knew it was time to open a shop,” says Hunter.

This Friday, the couple unveils HunterBee in a prime storefront in Millerton (which was previously home to Millerton Market and before that the much missed Pasta at Large.) Hunter Bee has a mix of country antiques, folk art, found objects, and industrial design. “From low to high, there is a beauty in everything here,” says Hunter who’s a graphic designer by day and is drawn to furniture and objects with bold lines and audacious shapes: vintage valises, factory furniture, old advertising signs, a Pop Art-inspired baby bottle. “I like things with history and a patina.”  He also likes things that are quirky and one-of-a-kind such as a pair of formal French-style chairs made from bicycle tires. “They’re in the style of Louis XIV or maybe Louis XV, and they are incredibly comfortable,” he says with glee, bouncing on the seat. “And the matching table is genius—pure Wiener Werkstätte!”

The couple, who’ve been life partners for 15 years, are dividing the labor to make sure the vicissitudes of their professional collaboration does not affect their personal life. “Kent is going to pick all the merchandise and I am going to be in charge of sales,” says Bee, an artist whose various New York careers included fashion sales and social work in the AIDS community. “Now I’m a cliché—a middle aged antiques dealer,” he says cheerfully.  But Bee hasn’t lost his social conscience and he is selling handmade jewelry by people with disabilities from Community Access to the Arts, the Great Barrington organization that organizes workshops in the visual and performing arts for people with disabilities.

The men say they have been welcomed with open arms by the merchants of Millerton.  Despite the economic climate, they think it is a good time to be opening an antiques store. “It’s the green way to decorate your house.” says Hunter. “Antiques are the ultimate in recycling.”