NEWBURYPORT – A veteran local business owner is hoping customers think outside the shoe box with her latest endeavor scheduled to open next week on Middle Street.
Owner Kim Lively called Edit not just a high-end shoe store but a place for people to hang and relax as they shop – something she called unique to Newburyport’s downtown business landscape.
“We want it to be different,” Lively said earlier this week from inside what she called a “shoe and style lounge.”
For inspiration, Lively pointed to recent trips to Europe where she stumbled on similar looking shops that paired retail sales with an interactive shopping experience.
The official opening is scheduled for Sept. 13, but a VIP party is on tap today, Sept. 7. Hours of operation are noon to 8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
Those who open the front door of 21 Middle St. will see exposed brick walls, plenty of mirrors, a fake zebra rug and a plush sofa.
A turntable will be spinning vinyl records and refreshments will be served. They’ll see shoes too, for women and men, but they won’t be stacked in boxes or lining the walls like a typical shoe store.
What people won’t see is a sign on or above the front door or merchandise along storefront windows of the former hair salon.
“It’s not going to be a store. I don’t want to call it a store. It’s a little secret,” Lively said, when asked about the dearth of signage.
Lively, who also owns Meraki, a clothing and accessory boutique on State Street, said she wanted to create a different vibe, a place where people find their style and shop together in a relaxed atmosphere.
“I want people to feel that playfulness,” she said.
The place isn’t for everyone, Lively conceded, as the shoes run from $75 to $600 with most marked between $150 and $250. But the shoes she sells aren’t what she called “fast fashion” or will be thrown away after a few months. They will last forever, she said.
“I think people are going to like the shoes,” Lively said. “It’s really far outside the concept of a lot of retail found in Newburyport. It’s really different and because of that it will work.”
With already one store to mind, it would be understandable to ask why she would embrace the stress of running two businesses at once.
But Lively pointed out that over her 25 years in retail, she has often had two businesses overlapping.
She pointed to the times where she owned Soak, the bath and body store on State Street along with Lively Kids, the children’s apparel store just a door or two down. She later sold Soak, and after opening Meraki, she held onto Lively Kids for a while before selling that business.
“It’s who I am. I am a serial retailer,” she said. “It’s all I know, all I think about.”
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.