NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 21, 2012

Two longtime Newburyport stores close

NEWBURYPORT — After 15 years of running Bonney's Hallmark store, Sally McIsaac is presenting herself with a happy retirement card.

McIsaac recently put up the "For sale" signs on the shop in the Port Plaza shopping center.

The store will be closed at the end of April or "when everything is sold."

Running such a retail store is a full-time assignment, and McIsaac, for the moment, has no plans for a new day job.

"This job is so time-consuming, and the work week includes Sunday," McIsaac said. "For years, I could not even take off Mother's Day."

McIsaac has always employed a few staffers, of course, and her husband, Paul McIsaac, pitches in with financial support and occasional heavy lifting.

The shop sells cards, wrappings, paper gifts and small party items.

She said that one of the satisfactions of the job has working with the customers and vendors.

Some became her friends, and all asked about her children as they grew up — often in the store when things were dull at home.

Bonney was the surname of a previous owner, and Sally said that some people knew her as "Bonney" not Sally. The store has been around for about 40 years.

"There have been great customers, of course," said Paul McIsaac, a marketing consulting, "but in recent years we've noticed a lack of civility.

"Working behind the register sometimes seemed like being a second-class citizen."

Though the McIsaacs plan to leave the 4,000 square-foot venue, they said there has been talk with other retailers about assuming a similar business there.

Another retail veteran who has posted a "retirement sale" sign is Helen Tierney, who has run Headlines Boutique for 33 years.

She said she will close at the end of the summer.

"Both my children are in California, and I'm moving to be closer to them," said Tierney, whose store is at 1 Merrimac St. in downtown Newburyport.

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