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Have you heard? Downtown Laconia is making a comeback

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
In response to the letter from Carole Polony of Jan. 30, she states Downtown Laconia is the saddest little town, comparing it to the poor house and claiming it has just empty stores and second-hand shops. As a store owner on Main Street, I was hurt and saddened by Ms. Polony's letter. I can only guess that maybe she hasn't been downtown in a long time. From where Second Feature Antiques is located at 611 Main Street, I see people buying wonderful floral bouquets from Whittimore's, across the street, (by the way they have been here "forever"), a steady flow of people getting their shoes repaired at LaBelles Shoe Repair (we had a customer last week that came all the way from Hudson. N.H. to bring her boots to LaBelles; she dropped them off and was shopping) directly across from us, and in the warmer weather, I enjoy seeing his young son with his shoe shine business on the sidewalk. I also see eople with guitars or other instruments in cases headed to Greenlaws Music Store  for lessons or supplies (another store that has been here forever). On my way in to open our shop I stop at the Little Cafe and get a warm muffin and there are people in there serenely sipping coffee and working on their lap tops – it has Wi Fi.
A customer came in the other day with a basketball, she had purchased it for her son, but when it arrived it had no air in it. She had just come from the Bike Shop on Canal St. where they gladly helped her out. Afternoons the young people also flock to Canal Street to Frates Dance studio, in tutus no less! Right next door to our shop is Vintage Emporium, they not only sell antiques but chalk paint, and have painting classes. The big Laconia Antique Center on the corner now has the soda fountain open for refreshments and ice cream and I would be remiss not to mention The Soda Shoppe, who could miss their Friday night fish fry of all you can eat. All My Life Jewelers, can turn your old screwback earrings into pierced, yet again making some new again. The Dress Shop and Bridal Shop, Barber and Hair Studio, Nail Salon, these are not these are not empty stores.
My point being, Ms. Polony's, these small shops and stores and restaurants are all run by hard working people who do their best to provide a service in a personal way. They actually get to know their customers, spend time talking to them. Yes some of the items in these shops are second hand, I prefer to call it repurposed, as we take items and make them into something useful again and in our throw away world today, I find this refreshing. Also if you're buying from the Antique/Collectible stores you're buying Made in USA, not Made in China. You can get the Made in China at the big malls.
Pleasant Street also provides services that are needed, New England Rockers, repairs seats and chairs as well as selling items. Vintage Row around the corner has a cute little boutiques as well. I realize there is a big Goodwill Store and a Salvation Army store but let's face it, in this economy they are needed and provide services beyond their stores to those that need a helping hand.
I invite you to come down, pick a sunny day when you can walk around Main Street, Canal Street, Pleasant Street, etc. Spend some time stopping in and saying "Hi"; have lunch; you can even get your nails done and hair cut. Take the time to check us out anew, even if you only window shop, many of us spend quality time making our windows look as pleasant as possible to the passerby, Whittimore's always out does themselves, then if you still find us sad and forsaken, go to the malls, where no one talks you and pushing and shoving is the norm.
I have lived in Laconia all my life and have seen the Downtown at it's "hay days", and I'm proud to be a partner in store on Main Street; have you heard, Downtown is making a come back?
Jane Gove

Second Feature Antiques - Laconia