NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 9, 2014

Downtown shuffle continues

More retailers announce plans to expand, close

NEWBURYPORT — The truck with a plow affixed is a common sight in the community these days, but the moving van will also be spotted in the coming weeks, as numerous merchants move around the downtown.

Some retailers are going to new locations, while others are closing their doors and leaving town completely.

Several merchants are also talking about relocating, but they don’t know where. With the tough selling months of January, February and March upcoming, numerous business owners are attempting to adjust to new conditions.

“There is a shuffle of merchants going on, but I don’t see it as a red flag or an indication of bad economic times,” said Ann Ormond, president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Some store owners want more space; others want a different location. Most spaces that are opening are being filled, so this appears to be a natural movement at this time of year.”

J.L. Coombs, the footwear shop at 1 State St., has announced that it is relocating to a new storefront on Pleasant Street, while its neighbor, M.K. Benatti Jewelers at 11 State St., will take over the space they vacate.

Owners Matt and Karyn Khatib say they will take over the storefront at 1 State St. on Feb. 1, and will spend about three months building a new store in the space that’s four times their current location, which will allow them to have more space for additional merchandise in a bigger showroom, as well as to spread out their workshop more in order for customers to get an up-close view of their work.

With a larger location, they also plan to offer more events for the community, including trunk shows, and to hire more staff.

They will remain in their current space until they are ready to open the doors of their new shop.

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