SIP. SHOP. SACKS! Design-your-own, order gifts or buy ready made...all while enjoying a nosh and adult beverage. Newburyport is the place to be on Friday, October 19…6-9PM, downtown (where all the lights are much brighter there!).
The Newburyport Daily News did a feature story on the new breed of destination shopping spots located off the beaten path here in our fair city. PORT•SACKS is proud to be a part of such great company. (Read the complete article below.)
NEWBURYPORT — Visitors and local residents alike know that if you’re in the mood to do some shopping or simply browse in the downtown, the places to go are State and Pleasant streets. There are also the shops at The Tannery, a few blocks away on Merrimac Street.
But along downtown side streets, there’s a wide range of businesses off the beaten path that provide customers with a shopping experience they might not get at the usual places. And pretty soon, there will be a map highlighting these businesses.
“People want to buy from people, they want to hear their stories,” Angry Donut owner Tom Quill said.
Quill and five other small-business owners converged Thursday inside a small Harris Street studio, home of Port Sacks, where people can buy and create one-of-a-kind handbags.
They discussed the advantages of opening businesses off the main drags and some of the challenges they face.
Among the challenges, as Paula Estey of Paula Estey Gallery on Harris Street phrased it, is getting eyeballs on their businesses. The owners agreed that most of their business comes not from out-of-towners, but locals who just happen to hear about them.
Businesses on State and Pleasant streets have the advantage of a seemingly limitless number of foot traffic from tourists taking day trips to the city. But that comes at a hefty price in terms of monthly rent. That forces businesses to remain open every day, all day, and hope for good weather.
“I don’t think I could have made it if I was on Pleasant Street,” Estey said.
Estey said part of her goal is to create a relationship between herself and clients. That typically involves buyers coming back multiple times before handing over their cash or credit card. But Estey said the effort pays off and in August, she sold more than a half dozen pieces.
"That's important to build," Estey said.
As a way of helping lesser-known businesses expand their footprints, the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry is close to unveiling and distributing a map that highlights those businesses.
“It’s always good to get people off Pleasant and State Street and walk around,” Chamber President Frank Cousins said, moments after surprising the business owners at their Thursday morning meeting.
Port Sacks owner Colleen Turner Secino said choosing a space off the beaten path was a conscious decision to make the shopping experience more intimate and immersed.
"People want an experience and they want a good experience," Secino said.
Pam Older of Pam Older Designs at 42 Merrimac St. agreed.
“We’re really trying to make it personal,” Older said.
Visit Pam Older Designs and you could find yourself watching Older and her staff create jewelry on the spot.
It's all part of the mantra she and others espoused, going the extra mile for customers. And that is what they believe they have over the higher-traffic stores, the ability to add that personal touch to a shopping experience.
Stop by Salt & Grove at 7 Prince Place and you might see owner Katie Rocheford and Sarah Landry of Sarah Jayne Photography collaborate on a project for a client. By setting up shop in a collaborative studio space with Landry, Rocheford saves money on rent.
Rocheford, who specializes in floral arrangements, said her aim is to make shopping more fun, spread good vibes, and allow shoppers to take a break from hectic schedules.
“Really just enjoy yourself,” Rocheford said, adding that Newburyporters are always looking for cool niche businesses.
Gretchen Desautels, owner of Grassroots Antiques at 8 Prince Place, said local shoppers crave more choices and her shop and others provide that.
"There's a lot of the same stuff now," Desautels said.
Jane Wallace Wild's "Amazing Greys" Bosun (medium) tries to photobomb "Seacoast Blues" Bosun (small), simultaneously being photobombed by Scamps. Talk about a combustible combination!
Check out our Bosun (S) "Bikini Bottom" in the summer window at Denise Hajjar's in Boston's InterContinental Hotel! We are proud to be a part of her beautiful store. Stop in and always, shop local!
"Life's a Beach - Gingko" is having a much nicer winter than I am! Here is Lil's roomy beach tote hanging with the Lava Lava mannequins at the popular outdoor bar on Anaeho’omalu Bay. (Submitted by Greg White, currently wintering in Hawaii.)
Let's face it, a lot of guys can't carry this look off, but, you, Dave Collette, make your wife's "Amazing Greys" Captain (small) sack look fab-you-luscious! PS: that bag was just the 27th we'd made back in 2015. (Submitted by Dave Collette from Miami, FL.)
Oh, that I, too, could be basking in the Hawaiian sun! Thanks, Greg White, for the awesome pics of "Tealing Home" (Bosun (M) with drop down zipper) and your custom Life's a Beach - Gingko hanging out on the "big island" at Mauna Lani beach. Katie & Lil are looking good, too!
I know, it sounds a little naughty, but it's not. Every PORT•SACKS 100% cotton handle is hand-whipped and twice-dipped. Robline (.008m) waxed whipping is wrapped for 16 full turns, trimmed, then dipped once in liquid whipping. Once dry, each end is given a straight cut and dipped once again to prevent fraying.
Sounds like a lot of work, but the clean, finished look is definitely worth it.
"Will It Go Round In Circles" spends day on the Martha’s Vineyard. (Submitted by Maura Ockerbloom.)
1. "LBD's BFF" & "Will It Go Round in Circles" living the Life at BJs in Woburn (submitted by Sue & Flame Titterington).
2. "Petal to the Metal" makes the scene at Barnacle Billy's, Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine. (Submitted by Colleen Turner.)
- You'll go quackers for this sack!
So excited about this new bag. Duck is one of my favorite materials...soft, but durable...great color selection...terrific to work with and, perhaps most important, cost-effective.
Wanting to create a moderately priced bag, but not sacrifice the style, quality and design of our PORT•SACKS, we decided to keep our signature stainless steel hardware and hand-whipped-twice-dipped rope handles, yet we needed to find a way to maximize savings. Enter duck cloth.
This is the way to go! More images from happy PORT•SACKS owners.
1. "Gray Diamond Phillips" @ Loretta's, Newburyport, Mass. (Submitted by Pam Donnelly.)
2. Flame looking smoking hot with "Will it Go Round in Circles " in Rowley, Mass. (Submitted by Sue Titterington.)
1. Kelley Zavatsky sporting "Kelley's Green" in Yarmouthport, Mass. (Yes, it's named for her!)
2. "Pinky Tuscadero" (a Stowaway) checks out the adult beverages at The Tap, Haverhill, Mass. (Submitted by Tracey Zysk.)
3. "Zsa Zsa's Zinnias" vacationing in Aruba! (Submitted by Melissa Giusto.)
Happy PORT•SACKS bag owners send us pictures of their bags out & about. Send us yours to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it to this page. Be sure to include your name and where you are (a restaurant, store, park, etc.)...don't forget to tell me what town and state, too.
We have been featured in Cruising World, New England Boating and most recently in Newburyport Magazine, among others. Check us out!