Local Notables: Lucinda and Helen Wells | Saugerties | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

HV Towns » Saugerties

Local Notables: Lucinda and Helen Wells



There is certainly no shortage of ethnic food stores in the Hudson Valley, but for the most part, they offer exotic Hispanic produce or Asian specialties. Jolly's Good Grub, located in the heart of Saugerstock (the local name for the area between Saugerties and Woodstock), is one of the few deli and gourmet shops offering British goods such as teas, candies, preserves, meat pies, pastries, and others. "There are a lot of people who are aware of what makes for quality European food and they are glad to find it here," says co-owner Helen Wells. "We carry items from Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Ireland, and most other countries where English is the primary language, plus a few Indian delicacies—British people love Indian foods."

Wells, along with wife Lucinda, are both originally from England. They lived in Manhattan for several years before eventually moving up to Saugerties full time. "We were drawn to the area for its peace and quiet," Wells says. "And there's plenty of quiet here." At first, they rented the lower half of the house to tenants, but when the lease ended, the couple decided to open up a shop. About five years ago, Jolly's was up and running. "After our last tenant left, we didn't want to rent again, so we started selling deli foods," Wells explains. "Eventually, we began offering more and more English foods and grocery products."

The hard-to-find selection draws a combination of curious passersby and destination shoppers. "We'll see lots of customers who are just interested to see what we offer, and they'll 'Oooh' and 'Ahh' and say, 'This reminds me of when I was a kid!' But then others will have heard of us and come from a distance," Wells says. "And since we have quality imported foods, we get a lot of repeat customers."

The Wellses haven't been back to England in several years, but they enjoy sharing a bit of their heritage as a part of daily life. Rather than looking at it as an exciting new enterprise, the couple finds the shop to be a rather low-key undertaking. "I think owning a business is exciting when you're younger, but once you get to a certain age, you start to take life at a more leisurely pace—and I'm certainly at that age," Helen Wells says. "Of course, we endure the same challenges as everyone else, with the recession making things a little harder, but it's something we enjoy doing, and we plan to keep at it as long as we can."

Add a comment

Latest in HV Towns

  • Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions Shop Gets a Space Upgrade
  • Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions Shop Gets a Space Upgrade

    Hudson’s premier cheese and provisions shop Talbott & Arding is expanding into a sprawling new space on Allen Street next month. Clocking in at 8,000 square feet, the new storefront will be a continuation of T&A’s current concept as a hub for local provisions makers. With plenty of room to stretch their wings, the new location will have expanded offerings of cheese, charcuterie, pastries, and fresh pasta, plus a re-crafted food menu.
    • Jun 14, 2021
  • The Reher Center Holds Kingston's Ninth Annual Multicultural Festival
  • The Reher Center Holds Kingston's Ninth Annual Multicultural Festival

    This June 13, 20, and 27, the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History hosts its ninth annual Kingston Multicultural Festival. Participants will be able to watch performances by dancers, musicians, and poets from diverse backgrounds in the TR Gallo Park gazebo. There will be pop-up eateries, each with their own informational posters about the history and culture of the food they’re making and serving. Central to this year's festival is the Worry Dolls Project, or "Proyecto Muñecas Quitapenas" in Spanish, a Guatemalan craft tradition brought to over 700 local Kingston students.
    • Jun 7, 2021
  • Stone Wave Yoga: Tending the Flame of Personal and Communal Wellness
  • Stone Wave Yoga: Tending the Flame of Personal and Communal Wellness

    In the summer of 2019, Liz Glover Wilson had just opened the second location of her burgeoning Gardiner yoga studio and wellness campus, Stone Wave Yoga, in Poughkeepsie. Like so many other small business owners in the Hudson Valley, she had no way of knowing that only months later her entire business would fundamentally change. With the pandemic’s economic and personal challenges constantly at her door, however, yoga remained the one thing that Glover Wilson knew she could count on. “A lot of the students who stayed with us this last year are hungry to learn more about the yoga tool kit because they’re seeing that it really does work,” she says.
    • Jun 5, 2021