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An old photo from when the Frear Building was a shopping destination.

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The new space for 'e ko logic.

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Kathleen Tesnakis.

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A mitten before it's a mitten.

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The space is full of deconstructed and not-quite-reconstructed garments.

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It's like a box of crayons -- but, you know, wool.

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Jasper has maybe the nicest dog bed in the Capital Region. Those are leftover bits of cashmere.

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The center of the Frear Building includes a reminder of its glorious past -- a totally gawk-worthy staircase.

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Office space on the top floor that's being refurbished. We hear two firms are interested in moving their offices to the Frear.

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The top floor has great views.

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The Frear Building in Troy is again open for (retail) business

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The clothing design and manufacturing company 'e ko logic is known in the fashion world and sells its pieces in shops from France to Japan.

And it's located right here in the Capital Region -- in Troy -- and has been for the last decade. Though that wasn't necessarily easily to tell. Why? We'll let owner/designer Kathleen Tesnakis explain:

"Before I was in a very funky old building, on the second floor, that you weren't sure you wanted to walk up into." And beyond that funkiness, 'e ko logic didn't have a retail space.

That situation changes starting today when 'e ko logic formally opens its new retail and manufacturing space in the Frear Building. The clothing company's presence there is part of an ongoing transformation of the downtown Troy landmark back towards its roots.

There are a handful of photos of 'e ko logic's space -- along with some of the other spaces in the Frear Building -- above in large format. Click or scroll all the way up.

frear building historical photo women trying on shoes

The Frear Building stands at one of downtown Troy's most prominent intersections, where River Street, Fulton, and Third all come together. And it has a long history as a retail hub for the area. Frear's Troy Cash Bazaar -- whose late 19th century "fame attracts customers from all the cities, villages and rural districts of Eastern and Northern New York, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts" -- started in the Cannon Building on Monument Square before re-locating to then palatial shopping space on Fulton.

But as retail departed downtowns, that history faded. And it was further covered up as the building was transformed into office space, which is how it had been used until just recently when the state Department of Health moved out.

Now the tide is moving back in the other direction. In addition to 'e ko logic, two other retailers -- Modern on the Hudson and Astri's Trojan Horse Antiques -- are slated to take up street level spaces.

ekologic space frear building

"This location is so amazing, it's beyond my dreams," Tesnakis told us Thursday as we sat at a table in 'e ko logic's new high-ceilinged space. She described first seeing it while on a tour with building owner David Bryce, "I walked in and I said, oh my god, this is it. (laughing) I'm, like, yes, please. I'd love to be here."

'e ko logic produces clothing from materials left over from the New York City fashion industry, breaking down garments, rearranging them by hand to make something new. Tesnakis talks about deconstructing a sweater the way a butcher or chef might describe taking apart a pig or cow, identifying its prime parts and their uses. She originally started the company in Portland, Oregon 18 years ago before moving back east in 2003 with her husband, Charlie Tesnakis -- he's 'e ko logic's vice president -- to be closer to New York City. She was drawn to Troy because she saw potential for it to offer the walkable lifestyle they wanted, with interesting buildings and history.

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Kathleen Tesnakis

"I had been a part of Portland's resurgence, and when I saw Troy, I said this place can do it."

They originally set up in the Marvin Neitzel Building (on River Street a few blocks north of Green Island Bridge). And though funky, deteriorating, and often changing hands, the building served them well as a manufacturing space. But the building is now slated for a residential conversion.

"I'm just happy that we were able to act as a space holder to keep life in it, to make sure it didn't get torn down, and that it is going to live again," Tesnakis said. "I'm very excited about it."

The former space also didn't fit with a goal Tesnakis had set in 2009 -- to open a retail space. She'd been watching the trends -- including the recession and the increasing focus on being "green," a value already at the core of her company -- and figured the time was right. "I really believe that the next wave of getting balance into our lives is knowing your maker, being able to buy things locally, understanding the impact of that."

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That's the aim of 'e ko logic's new street level space in the Frear Building. People walking by will catch the window displays, and shoppers will be able to stop into the small retail section of the space, all while getting a look at the production going on.

"It's fabulous. It's a dream come true." Tesnakis said Thursday. "I wouldn't have had the courage to request such a beautiful place. I'm not sure my mind would have that it was possible."

'e ko logic will be open Friday night (October 25) from 5-9 pm for Troy Night Out. Starting next week, hours will be:

Tuesday-Wednesday: 11 am-4 pm
Thursday-Friday: 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 11 am to 3 pm
Sunday-Monday: closed

Find It

Frear Building
1 Fulton Street
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

Thank you so much for showing me this.
So glad that this magnificant building could be used again for a creative purpose.
Could you please send me this in an e-mail form so i could show it to my relatives who used to live in Troy?
I am still a "Flintstone", who has a hard time paste,and copying.

I heard that this was happening...so cool! I have never seen the inside of the Frear Building...not having grown up in the area, I never had the chance. I'll be sure to bring my camera!

Amazing. I can't believe we abandoned buildings like this and cities like Troy for souless big box stores and cheesy suburbs. What were people thinking 50 years ago? It looks like Troy is finally turning the corner after a lot of fits and starts.

Yesterday, two Troy historians -- Don Rittner and Tom Carroll -- told me that the whole satisfaction or money back guarantee concept was originated in Troy by Wm. H. Frear.

That grand staircase pictured above has a relief of Frear's profile with these words forged in bronze:

"One price and no deviation, perfect satisfaction guaranteed or money cheerfully refunded."

Good lord, that center lobby is spectacular. It reminds me of The Rookery in Chicago. Please tell me that will be open to the public as well...

It's great to see this beautiful building being used again. We always shopped in Troy and I was so sorry to see the shopping district disappear & the Atrium take its place. So many beautiful buildings were razed in the process. Thank you for bringing the Frear building back to life!

@Paul - 50 years ago people were following a trend, much like you and many others are right now.

Don't get me wrong, I like the resurgence of cities and reuse of these great architectural buildings, and I'm also not a fan of the souless warehouse stores you mention.

But, please don't forget for one minute that the "return to the cities" you're so proud of is just a current trend that you're following.

This is so exciting! Kathleen from Ekologic is the best. Years ago she hand mended a purple cashmere hat for me that was too big. While I was in the factory, alongside all of the sewing machines and remnants, she let me try on the much coveted ekologic cashmere dress! It's a new life for this building, and for these sweet companies.

@Jay,

I don't get the point you're trying to make (in a seemingly condescending way) to @Paul.

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the "return to the cities" you're so proud of is just a current trend that you're following.
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Uh. Do you know who @Paul is in real life? Because otherwise you have no idea if he's "following" a trend. He might be a suburbanite. He might have lived in the heart of a small city his whole life. He might have been a "urban pioneer" trendsetter himself many years ago. "He" might be a "she" for all you know.

But what's the point anyway? Are you accusing people moving to cities today for being "posers" like those who only like the band after it becomes popular?

If so, that's lame of YOU, and, I think, incorrect. The resurgence of small city living is not merely a fashion statement du jour. There are many factors that are leading Americans back to the small city living arrangement, starting with the fact that suburbia is utterly unsustainable.

Small city living has existed for 10,000 years. Suburbia was the flash-in-the-pan experiment. It failed. It's over. We are returning to the norm. Not chasing a trend.

Way to go Kathleen & Charlie! This was meant to be!

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