NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport’s downtown shopping area has seen some big changes in the past months, with a number of shops closing, moving and opening in quick succession.
After the closing of shoe store J.L. Coombs at 1 State Street, next to the Thirsty Whale, jeweler Matt Khatib of M.K. Benatti jumped at the opportunity to more than double the size of his store.
Khatib hopes that the new shop will allow him to both expand his selection and fix some of the problems that come with a smaller space.
“Right now, our operation on the first level is 550 square feet,” Khatib said. “Then we have a full basement that we do the casting in, then we have this office...It’s segregated all over the place, it’s not as cohesive as I need to it be. Now it will be.”
Since Khatib’s market niche involves having clients watch him as he crafts their custom-made jewelry, having a more official space to organize and use his equipment was a big draw. He wouldn’t release his full plans to the press, but Khatib’s new space will include vastly more floor space and a visible stone-setting area.
After nearly five months, the pet accessories store Pawsitively Best Friends will reopen in the old location of Winfrey’s chocolate shop at 21 Market Square. Winfrey’s declined to comment on the reason for closing their shop, but their chocolate is still available in Rowley and four other North Shore locations.
Pawsitively Best Friends lost its lease to last January after 14 years of business, and the former location is now home to Francesca’s, a women’s clothing store. Pamela Corkum, owner of Pawsitively Best Friends, said that construction on the new shop will be completed later this week. She hopes to complete the move-in and be open for business by the end of the month.