Q&A: Reed Putlitz Owner of REED & CO.
REED & CO closed their brick and mortar location at 4113 Butler Street on April 22, 2022.
Our Business District Manager, Abi Gildea, sat down with Reed Putlitz, owner of REED & CO, to ask him about his time in Lawrenceville and what he hopes to see in the future for himself and the neighborhood.
Q: Why did you choose Lawrenceville for REED & CO?
A: I chose Lawrenceville coming from Brooklyn. Simply because it reminded me of certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn that had a certain community feeling and a variety of businesses, small businesses and not just a bunch of chains, and the people that lived in the neighborhood. Really, it was just a feeling. I looked at a lot of neighborhoods, and it was just a feeling.
I built the idea and business plan in New York, but we could have never afforded to do this there. This was a place where I could enter the market with my own money. I really couldn’t do that in too many other places and this was a place where we had family.
Q: What will you miss most about Lawrenceville?
A: The people. The people that live here and work here and come everyday for the same things. Walking down the street. The employees.
Q: What’s your favorite memory?
A: The last World Cup, 2016. At the time, we had a dining room in the back and it really wasn’t much of a dining room. It had carpet, and it was rough. We wanted to watch games, so I painted the carpet green like grass and painted white lines on it. Then, I got pneumonia and couldn’t really finish it, but we were projecting the games. People came and then Brian from Row House offered to show the final game on the theater screen. I remember getting here that morning, and the whole time I’m thinking how there aren’t that many people who are into soccer. This isn’t a big soccer town. There’s soccer here, but it isn’t really a soccer town. The line was all the way down to the liquor store and I was just like, Oh my god.
We had a little trouble getting the stream, and I was a little late getting back over here. Everybody sat down in the theater and then all the other people in line said, What do we do?
So they all just came in here at one time. It ended up being really crazy and fun. We were so new at the time and trying to figure out what we were doing. We were the weird Cup Cafe. That was super fun.
The other memory is putting the walk-up window for COVID. That’s a real one, and that was a big deal. I went to Home Depot and bought the wrong window and then realized I had to put it in sideways. I had people who I met in the neighborhood help with that. It really changed our business, I say that as we go out of business, but it really did. There are factors there, we couldn’t control costs through the pandemic, however, I’m so glad we were here through the pandemic. At one point, for ourselves, we had a line out the shop.
The day before the initial mandate to shutdown came, we closed for 2 weeks. The day before we closed, we sold 120 bottles of the health shot because tumeric was all the sudden trending as something that was really great at the time. That was awesome too.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you faced?
A: The biggest challenge is making all the decisions and then living with the repercussions of them. Making the decisions which are numerous, without knowing what the outcomes are going to be. Just having the expectation to know the answers to all the questions.
Q: How can people stay in touch and continue to support your business?
A: There is a GoFundMe for the employees. I wanted to prioritize that. Employees always come first.
Then, watch Instagram and our website for more information. Those will stay the same and then evolve.
I’m committing myself to doing some kind of book – a cookbook, an art book, a history book, a whatnot/to-do book. I’ll figure it out. It seems like the right thing to do here. In my personal life, I have a great love for books, and that blends in here nicely.
Q: What’s something you hope to see in LV in the future?
A: My hope for Lawrenceville would be that, from a business perspective, that it could be somewhere accessible for good business ideas, legitimately good, unique business ideas that are done by passionate people.
But, gosh, it may be too late, it’s getting pretty spendy. When you look at a neighborhood, that would be great to live in, there’s a dry cleaner, deli, etc.. There are things that make sense for the neighborhood and have their own personality. As it gets harder and harder to do that, we see less, but I think that’s what makes a great neighborhood.
My hope is that there could be more people with good ideas, and less businesses just to be businesses.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share about your time in Lawrenceville?
A: I’m just super grateful to have been here. I couldn’t do it now, ya know. We were here through the pandemic. We did it our way, like Frank Sinatra. I’m glad to have done it.