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Retail Update: Pop Up

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Photo from Calico Blog

A retail trend that has been around for a while in bigger cities has been making its way to Providence recently, the Pop Up shop. Waste Not Want Not popped up for a while over the summer on Westminster, and from what I understand they are continuing with some other non-traditional retailing. And coming soon to the space next to Oop! we have Calico. Calico is a successful vintage clothing store located in New Bedford that will be popping up on Westminster on November 27th and plans to hang around through New Years.

We’ve secured the most amazing space in the heart of the city, and we can’t wait to stock it with our most covetable vintage boots, bags, coats, and accessories! We’ll also be offering the best selection of show-stopping, jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind vintage party dresses around! Just in time for the holidays!

Do we need to say it again, in these economic times, blah blah blah… Well, anyway, it is a cool concept to see make it’s way to Providence, if it can keep going we’ll maintain vitality and interest on Westminster. And there is always the possiblity that a Pop Up shop will gain traction and stick around.

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Retail Update: Bowl & Board closing

In an email today, Bowl & Board announced that they are closing their last two mainland locations, including the store at 217 Westminster Street.

BowlBoardColor

All mainland Bowl & Board stores are out of business after a 43 year run. Lots of stories, lots of hard work, many good times and laughs.

We’ve done business with well over 500 vendors and Craftspeople from all over the world. We’ve employed over 250 people from all walks of life. We’ve opened and closed stores all over New England, and weathered several recessions, but cannot lick this one. There’s just too much retail out there, and the costs of doing business these days makes it impossible to keep the doors open.

We’ll miss the experience, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the people that all came together to make Bowl & Board what it was.

If you need to contact us for any reason please send an email to: bowlandboard@gmail.com

All special orders will be honored. Shoot us an email so that we can get in touch and schedule a time for you to pick up your order.

Thanks so much for all the support over this loooong run.

And Thank You Vendors! We wish you the best.

The closings in Providence and Somerville leave Bowl & Board with just one location in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.

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Retail Update: Hudson Street Deli grand opening (10/03)


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There was much sadness on the West Side when Hudson Street Market closed shop and moved to new digs in the Nightclub District*. But then the sadness abated when Hudson Street Deli was announced. The Deli has been open since mid-September, but they are having their grand opening celebration this Saturday (10/03). The grand opening will also feature gluten free baked goods from our friends at FreeFlour Bakery.

The festivities run from 12 to 2pm at 68 Hudson Street.

*Did I invent Nightclub District? Do we like it? It is shorter than Johnson & Wales Hootchies Heading to The Club District.

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Gourmet Heaven Opens!

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Proprietor, Mr. Cho, welcomes us to his new store

Gourmet Heaven opened today on Weybosset Street Downcity with many dignitaries, Downcity residents, press, and passersby in attendance. After Buff Chase said a few words and thanked everyone who made it possible, the ribbon was cut and we headed inside.

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Inside the store is very nice with wooden cabinets, glass coolers, a large deli counter, and a prepared food section (the interior work was done by Site Specific, LLC and the architect was Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects both of Providence).

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Prices seem quite reasonable, surprisingly so for it’s Downcity location. I’m planning to head back at lunchtime to grab a sandwich.

Gourmet Heaven Grand Opening

Photos by Jef Nickerson

Mr. Cho promises more ice cream is on it’s way. :)

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Retail Update: Mall CVS Open

As I’m sure many walking or driving by have noticed, the sidewalk fronting mall CVS has opened at the Francis St/Memorial Blvd intersection. All of the J&W students who will be living at Capitol Cove will now have all of their pharmaceutical needs met.

Also, while not directly Providence related, I thought I’d mention that we’re far from the only place having significant retail turnover and, in fact, we may be having less than some other places. My wife and friends in the Boston metro report lots of changes in Brookline and Cambridge. In fact, my wife was in Brookline last night and found that two of her favorite establishments there have closed in the last few weeks alone…

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Retail Update: Plus one, minus one

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Due to open Saturday is an ice cream store on Atwells Avenue, in the location in the photo above at Dean and Atwells. The last tenant in here was Al & Betty’s which was a pretty good greasy spoon (good enough to get me out of bed on the weekends for french toast). After a death in the family, Al & Betty’s closed down, that was a couple (few?) years ago. At one point someone was renovating the storefront with the idea of placing a fish mongers in there. They never completed the renovations and never opened. So while the rest of Atwells has been filling out quite nicely in recent years, even during the current economic downturn, this prime corner location has been empty.

I’m very much looking forward to an ice cream store steps from my house.

The minus one sadly is Benders Caffe which we Cheered a few months back for their green practices (and yummy panini). I’ve noticed they’ve been intermittently open in recent weeks, and walking by today I saw the For Sale sign in the window. Sorry to see you go Benders.

In the almost plus one category is Gourmet Heaven. Stock is being loaded in and I read somewhere (I forget where now) that we should expect a soft opening on June 7th.

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Retail Update: Snookers & More…

Snookers: I’m not sure how “old news” this is, but Snookers sports bar is listed to be “coming soon” at about 44 Ashburton Street on the other side of the 95 overpass from Kelly’s Car Wash. It’ll be right next to the, um, antique store and near the, um, Subway, and the, um, Marriott hotel and the, um, Mathematics Society, making for one interesting group of neighbors coexisting there.

Smith Hill Laundromat: Many people have fantasized (well, at least a few people have) about how cool a business could go into the former auto repair space that defines the corner of the retail square at the intersection of Smith St. and Chalkstone Ave. across from NY System Hotdogs. Well, in the category of “better than nothing,” a laundromat is replacing the closed mattress store. To its credit, it’s always good when neighborhoods get new service businesses and they’re nicely redoing the facade with floor to ceiling windows that I’m sure will be well lit, giving a much better sense of life to that normally sleepy corner.

Butterfield: Having finished their move from downtown, Butterfield has opened in Wayland Square.

East Side Creamery: This ice cream shop has opened in the closed Knight Art Gallery space in the newly vibrant Ives Street retail area on the East Side and was packed when my wife and I were recently there. Of note, this is the second art gallery to close on the East Side this year (the Ruggieri space also closed in Wayland Square).

Beadworks: They are, interestingly enough, moving from Thayer Street (previously announced) to 16 Bassett Street in the Jewelry District.

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Retail Update: Asian Palace Opens on North Main


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Speaking of the “Retail to Restaurant” trend we were all debating, the newest example is located nearby on North Main Street (1184, across from East Side Urgent Care). This is where the long closed (and cutely named) Off Track Bedding outlet (whose empty storefront was captured by Google Streetview above) has been replaced by Asian Palace, which opened this past Friday. Should the photo above scare you, I’ll add that they’ve substantially gutted and updated the building.

Their menu is what I personally refer to “RI Pan-Asian 2.0.” What seems to distinguish Asian Palace, as far as I can see, is their hours. They’re open to 11 PM Mon-Thurs, and until 1 AM on Friday and Saturday, much later than almost every other ethnic dining option I can think of, Asian or otherwise, in the entire metro. This will likely work well for them given their close location to Miriam Hospital and its continuous stream of workers around the clock.

So, a question: Does anyone know if this pan-Asian default for restaurants is a RI only trend? If so, why? When I go home to NY, I don’t find this… The restaurants there, both in the city and suburbs, are solo-cuisine for the most part. Same thing in my recent travels around the US. Why only here?

To read more about the menu type and my very brief review, click below:

Continue Reading →

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Retail Updates: Almost Heaven

gourmet-heaven

Future home of Gourmet Heaven at Weybosset and Union Streets.

The plywood veil has come down from what any day now should be the home of Downcity’s new market, Gourmet Heaven. The market will be located in the ground floor of RISD’s Fletcher Building at Weybosset and Union Streets.

Gourmet Heaven has two locations in New Haven, Connecticut and this is what they have to say about themselves on their website:

We have all the gourmet foods you are looking for with specialty products from around the world. We carry organic snacks and meals, imported candies and nuts, as well as all of your everyday grocery essentials. Gourmet Heaven brings to market the finest food items available… whether it be from our always fresh hot/cold buffet tables, our deli, or the many different groceries we offer!

I’ve been describing it as the 7-Eleven version of Whole Foods. It is not a full size full service grocery store, but it does have a lot of what one would need from a grocery store. Good news for the people who live Downcity, and the people like me, looking for a place to stop on the walk home to pick a few things up.

I don’t know the exact date they plan to open, but it looks like not too long now. The exterior looks terrific, hats off to the architects, Durkee Brown, and the contractor, Site Specific of Providence.

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