NEWBURYPORT — The change of seasons often brings new merchants to town, and this year is no exception. As spring approaches, several well-known retail properties will be hosting new enterprises.
On lower State Street, this is a Brave New World moment: The long-running Fowle's newsstand and magazine store will be closing in the coming weeks.
Ann Lagasse, leasing agent for the building's owner, Newburyport Development, would not confirm a change of tenants, but two employees said the store will be closed by March 31.
"I never comment without a signed lease in my hand," Lagasse said.
It is rumored that Cathy's Country Kitchen in Rowley will move into the 17 State St. building, but phone calls to Cathy's seeking comment were not returned.
In other areas of the city, a new food outlet is scheduled to open in mid-March on Inn Street, in the space formerly occupied by Sip.
The restaurant is Mandavara, and it will offer healthy juices and vegan fare, as well as soups, desserts and "delicious treats."
Elie Vyn, a Wenham resident who has experience in the catering business, will operate the business with assistance from her daughter, Mary Vyn, who is a chef.
Elie Vyn said Mandavara was a wellness pioneer in India who became known for encouraging healthy food and wholesome lifestyles.
The Orange Leaf is also in line to open in the coming weeks at the site of the former Monkey's Fist at 35 Market St.
Orange Leaf is a national chain with 130 stores and "78 more are coming," according to its website. It will offer "self-serve frozen yogurt" in a healthy and appealing family format, organizers say.
Agave, at 50 State St., is expanding on its first floor. Managers say the eatery, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will have more space for customers come this spring.
Yiannis, a family salon, has opened at 344 High St. It takes the place of John's Barbershop and will accommodate a male and female clientele.
Gram's Ice Cream, at 40 State St., will be under new ownership when it reopens on April 2. It will continue to sell a variety of ice cream and yogurt flavors.
Hot in Hollywood Jewelry has opened in space next to City Hall at 66 Pleasant St. Proprietor Brenda MacDonald said that she will feature rings from $42 to $75 and costume jewelry ranging from $20 to $220.
"The designs are celebrity inspired," MacDonald said.
Meanwhile, managers at Helene M Ltd at 20 Pleasant St. have announced they are consolidating operations in Portsmouth, N.H. The shop sold women's clothing and accessories.
Likely, the biggest change will be the closing of Fowle's newsstand, which has roots here dating to the mid-19th century.
Local lore has that it grew out of a paper route that Stephen Fowle started as a young delivery boy in 1852. By 1865, he had saved enough money to open a store at 17 State St.
After Fowle's death in 1895, the business was run by his widow and others. At the turn of the century, Nick Arakelian, who emigrated from Armenia as a child, began a career there. Arakelian took over the business in 1920.
In 1963, Arakelian sold the business to Waverly News. North Shore News, based in Lynn, bought the operation in the mid-1990s.
In addition to selling newspapers, magazines, paperbacks and greeting cards, Fowle's has been a distribution center for close to 70 stores and supermarkets that stock papers and magazines.
However, its sales have been down in recent years. The breakfast-lunch restaurant that shared its space closed a couple weeks ago.