Robin Kirk, owner of both Phoenicia establishments the Nest Egg and the Ice Cream Station, comes from a family of local business owners. Her father bought the Nest Egg in 1968, and their family has owned the Ice Cream Station since 1993. Together the shops bring local and regional products like soap, honey, and mouthwatering specialty fudge to the mountain town. “I just kind of grew up doing it,” Kirk says of working at the businesses, “and I’ve been working there ever since.”
The Nest Egg, which her father previously ran as a grocery store until 1974, has been a gift shop since the early ’80s. A self-proclaimed “old-fashioned country store,” it combines the practical and the fanciful. An amalgam of souvenirs from Phoenicia and the Catskill Mountains awaits customers: magnets, clothing, prints, postcards, mugs, and ornaments.
The Nest Egg unites many regional artisans under one roof, with rows of soaps, candles, essential oils, and farm products all made in New York State. Some of customer favorites are maple and honey products from Russell Farms, specialty peanut butter from Albany-based Peanut Principle, and artwork from Lake Placid’s Lionheart Graphics, plus a variety of old-fashioned candy akin to what was sold in similar stores more than a century ago.
There are books on local history and maps of the Phoenicia region, including trail guides, paired with camping and personal care supplies such as compasses, bug repellent, sunscreen, band-aids, and cooking utensils. Minnetonka Moccasins have been a staple for as long as Kirk can remember, and there is a “huge sock wall” to go with them. Kiddie entertainment is also available in the form of toys and games. Kirk describes it as “a little bit of everything.”
Along with the selection of hard ice cream and soft serve that gives the business its name, Phoenicia’s Ice Cream Station dishes up an assortment of candy, drinks, and famous fudge. They have rotating, seasonal flavors, such as Cookie Explosion and Tiger Butter, but Kirk’s personal favorite is the timeless classic cookies and cream.
Kirk’s family has owned as many as seven different businesses in the region in the past, but she currently just runs the two. She took over The Nest Egg after graduating from Johnson and Wales with a Bachelor’s in hospitality management, and adding on the Ice Cream Station was not too big of a leap, even as she raised a family. “I didn’t have to follow anyone else’s rules, I guess,” she explains.
Kirk’s favorite part of running the shops is interacting with the customers. “We have a lot of weekenders, and it’s been the same ones for years,” she says. “We’ve seen their kids grow up.”
The Nest Egg
84 Main Street, Phoenicia, NY 12464
The Ice Cream Station
76 Main Street, Phoenicia, NY 12464