|West End stone store to close after 21 years|
|Written by Paul Gauvin|
|December 13, 2007|
|Taryn Thoman is singing her retail swan song at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve when she will close the doors to Taryn’s Mirror, 606 Main St., Hyannis after earning a living there for 21 years selling colored stones, jewelry, beads, fossils and other mineral collectibles.For the vocalist, guitarist and businesswoman who hit the entertainment circuit after three years of college in Ohio, closing shop will be a bittersweet refrain as she looks forward to spending more time at home with her husband and son but deeply missing the “retail family” that is the West End of Main Street. “I’ll miss it,” she said. “The West End is a very special place with a lot of creative and independent people.”While she’s closing her retail operation, Thoman, who plans to remain on the Cape, said she would continue to sell on-line at www.tarynsmirror.com and wholesale, two marketing strategies she adopted a few years ago.
Sitting on a Southwestern style couch at the rear of the store and behind a cocktail table with a small flashing Christmas tree on it, Thoman waxed nostalgic about her landlords, Joe and Jeannette Chilli, and the “hard-working, independent, free-thinking” retailers she met in nearly a quarter century of doing business at the same location. “They succeed in spite of everything else that happens,” she said.
Thoman took a circuitous route to Cape Cod, signing on, after leaving college, with a musical aggregation going to France to help Anheuser-Busch promote a beer there. “It (the promotion) was a disaster, but we had a lot of fun. After that, I got an agent and went solo in Bermuda for a while.”
Back in the States, she began touring “up and down the East Coast” and the South, visiting Graceland while on a gig in Memphis and finally ending up with a booking in Northampton. “I fell in love with New England” she said and stayed around Northampton entertaining and working an office day job at Smith College.
Thoman visited the Cape in the ’80s at the suggestion of a friend who said there was work for musicians, landing gigs on the Lower Cape for a while, then a long stint at the Asa Bearse House, where she eventually befriended a business owner from Provincetown.
It was through that friend, Thoman said, that she met Jeannette Chilli, who was looking to rent the Main Street store at the time. With a partner, Thoman leased the space (“It couldn’t have been more than 500 square feet at the time.”) and went into the same business as her friend in Provincetown.
“I did it as a second job,” she said.
She and her partner bought stones wholesale and put them in cardboard boxes on the floor. “The first day we opened, we made $400. We did it with nothing,” and after two years, without competition for her products in this area, Thoman bought out her partner, expanded the retail space, paid off the banks and, she says, had a successful business all these years from locals and tourists.
She said she had begun a rock collection when she was a child and parlayed that to become a local center for area collectors, particularly young people. “Some of them are in college now and they have collections that I envy. And to think, they got them from me.”
She explained that certain stones become abundant from various mines that eventually run out. Then the stones can’t be precisely duplicated and become more valuable.
Thoman has a 21-acre mine in Maine that she occasionally digs and will now find more time for that adventure and the usually month-long visits to Tucson where a major annual colored stone show is held.
Success didn’t come easy: “I can’t name one holiday or weekend that I was able to be with my husband and son,” Thoman said. “This place was open all year, seven days a week. Now I need to spend more time with family.”
This year she made time to perform at her son’s 1st grade Christmas singalong and also ran for a seat on the town’s charter commission.
“She wants to be a mom to her son,” Joe Chilli said. “I hate to lose a good tenant, but we agree with her. Raising children is a once-in-lifetime experience.”
Published Date: 12/14/07