, Newburyport, MA

May 13, 2013

New businesses blossom in Port this spring


---- — NEWBURYPORT — One characteristic aspired to by most municipalities is the capability to fill storefronts, and close to a half-dozen venues haven recently received new tenants — without creating vacancies.

Moving into new digs are a new beauty boutique on Liberty Street and a specialty hamburger restaurant on State Street.

In addition, veteran entrepreneur Richard Simkins, owner of the Grog restaurant, will soon welcome a new enterprise in a storefront he owns on Middle Street.

At 18 Liberty St., Marie Santos recently opened the Essencia Beauty Lounge. It calls itself a “salon, spa, boutique” and offers clothes, beauty services and its own line of beauty products.

“I have a store in Amesbury, and we carry a great line of products,” said Santos. “I have been in the beauty business for 18 years, and I am excited to be expanding here.”

At 88 State St., a hamburger restaurant will move into the space until recently occupied by Taffy’s, which went out of business.

The eatery will be operated by K.C. Cargill, a Newburyport resident who runs Lexie’s Joint in Portsmouth.

The name of the new restaurant has not been finalized, but Cargill said it might be “Lexie’s on State.”

“We are opening another restaurant in Newington (N.H.), so we might not open Newburyport until September,” said Cargill. “For hours of operation, we’re looking at maybe 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Our burgers are a little smaller, about 4 ounces, so people don’t leave stuffed. We’re looking forward to Newburyport.”

Simkins said he has found a tenant for a small store adjacent to the Grog, 7 Middle St. The space formerly housed a used-book store.

The venue will be a retail operation called R.R. Traders, but Simkins declined to specify what kind of goods will be sold. “It will be a surprise until about June 1,” he said.

Simkins, who owns multiple buildings in the downtown, formerly operated Newbury Perennial Gardens.

Urban Elements, which has operated a store on Pleasant Street since 2007, recently expanded to a storefront on Merrimac Street that for many years was the main entrance to the Fitness Factory.

Cebula Design, Inc. at 18 Liberty St., an interior design firm, is expanding by adding a showroom at that location, said Michael Cebula, design director.

The company offers high-end furniture, accessories and design services, mostly to homeowners on the northern coast of New England.

The repositioning at 18 Liberty has meant that several businesses have moved to new locations.

Chameleon, once at that location, has moved its fine arts inventory to 22 Liberty St., the address where it started in 1994.

And Rocas, which had been at 22 Liberty, has relocated to 1 Merrimac Landing, Unit 8.

“I like the greater amount of foot traffic here,” said Rosemary Silva, proprietor of Rocas.

Also at 1 Merrimac Landing, Suite 4, is a new venue called Pure and Simple HOME, opened by A.J. Aubrey. It offers “all home decor” and interior decorating services and will open by Friday, she said.