LACONIA — Four female business owners in Downtown Laconia will be showcasing their businesses Saturday afternoon as they unveil The Shops at Vintage Row with open houses and a block party featuring the music of Julia Vellie, vocalist and acoustic guitarist.
Located on the south side of the McIntyre Block just around the corner from a group of shops in the same building that front on Pleasant Street, the owners of the businesses are hoping to create a unique shopping experience and have either redone or are in the process of redoing their interiors, window displays and awnings.
The businesses on Vintage Row are New England Porch Rockers, the premier area destination for chair caning; Curiosity & Co., specializing in vintage and local goods; Chase Island Designs, creative screen printing; and Willow & Sage, Vintage Boutique.
Jean Howe Compton of New England Porch Rockers has been hand caning and seat weaving chair seats for many years and has just enlarged her shop, which has display windows on both Pleasant Street and Water Street and has been in that location for a year.
'' We have just enlarged and been able to add a showroom and a dedicated wood shop.,'' says Compton, who grew up in Laconia and wants to see downtown become a destination for those seeking unique and vintage items.
Shelly Daniels Marcoux of Willow & Sage Vintage Boutique says that she has been working on her new shop since September 1 and still has a lot work to do, including repairs, painting and flooring.
''This is really a sneak peek and I plan to have a grand opening later this year,'' says Marcoux.
Kris Nagemgast of Chase Island Design has created a Lobsterville Lobsters Collection, an eye catching assortment of pillows, dinner bibs, aprons and table runners and likes to do unique silk-screened items for her customers.
Stora Kamens of Curiosity & Company is a former English teacher at Franklin High School and takes the name of her store from the book "The Old Curiosity Shop," by Charles Dickens.
''It's also noteworthy that most of us have completely redone our shops, taking out the suspended ceilings to expose the beautiful tin, hanging new light fixtures, replacing awnings and generally spiffing things up. We're hoping (as are our fellow merchants in the downtown area) to make downtown Laconia a destination point for people who enjoy browsing antique and vintage shops. Several of us carry locally-made items, including soaps, lotions, candles, jewelry, quilts, and other items. These are high quality products made by artisans who live right here in New Hampshire,'' says Kamens.
She says that she'll be serving some food on Saturday, and will be giving away gift certificates to the shop. There will also be vendors with made in New England goods, as well as food, prizes and an opportunity to meet downtown Laconia's newest business owners.
The Shops at Vintage Row will be hosting an open house and block party in Downtown Laconia Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The shops feature vintage items, chair caning, local crafts and screen printing and are located on Water Street between Beacon Street West and Pleasant Street. Shown above are business owners Shelly Daniels-Marcoux of Willow & Sage Vintage Boutique, Jean Howe Compton of New England Porch Rockers, Stora Kamens of Curiosity & Company and Kris Nagemgast of Chase Island Design. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)