NEWBURYPORT – It has been about six weeks since Green Plum Vintage Goods moved from State Street to its new location in Market Square, and according to owner Karen Brown, business is booming.
Business is going so well, she added, that it likely saved the store from the same fate of other businesses located above Pleasant Street away from Market Square. While Brown owns Green Plum Vintage Goods, she rents space to vendors.
Brown laid zero blame, saying that her previous landlords at what used to be Flukes & Finds on State Street until January were nothing short of spectacular. But the reality was that getting enough foot traffic into her store was challenging, even when she stood outside handing out flyers to drum up business. The opening of the city’s parking garage on Merrimac Street added to her difficulties as people parked their cars and stayed downtown, she said.
“There was a party going on and we weren’t invited,” Brown said.
But an opportunity arose. Around the time Green Plum Vintage Goods opened on State Street in late February, the owner of Pawsitively Best Friends at 21 Market Square closed her business after 20 years.
The space remained vacant for several months before Brown made the decision to move there. She did so knowing there wasn’t a basement, loading area or on-street parking. But what the new location had, as it turned out, was a huge increase in foot traffic, and for a store like hers, foot traffic is king, she said.
“Seriously, double what we did up the street,” she said.
Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Mark Iannuccillo said Brown made the right call.
“It was a smart move to move down the hill,” Iannuccillo said. “It’s nice to see her downtown.”
Despite the chamber’s best efforts to promote Brown’s business where it was, the results were not there. Iannuccillo stopped short of saying the business was doomed, but conceded it would have been tough sledding. Shoppers, he said, are used to doing what he called a “loop” around the downtown area, a loop that ends on Pleasant Street for many of them, which means they don’t go further up State.
On Friday, Brown and one of her vendors, Linda Farmer, were busy setting up displays and merchandise for Sunday’s Vintage Christmas event. Scattered around the roughly 1,380-square-foot store were dozens of vintage Christmas ornaments, small ceramic Christmas trees and other festive items.
The sale starts at 11 a.m. and runs all afternoon before the shop closes at 6 p.m.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.