Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 5, 2007

Five downtown shops closing this year

By the end of July, five downtown businesses will have closed in the last six months.

After 25 years of doing business at its 44 Main St. location, the owners of Regina Gifts will close up shop in Andover at the end of the month.

"We should be closing the store probably around the 25th of July," said Anne Kleuber, co-owner of Regina Gifts. "The customers in Andover have been good to Regina and we've been good to them."

Neighboring women's clothing shop Bagette, at 46 Main St., will also shutter its doors this summer.

According to Andover Business Center Association President Betsy Powers, three other nearby stores have closed since February | Suna at Home, formerly in Olde Andover Village on Main Street; and Sparkle and Jeans Addiction, both formerly of Chestnut Street.

"It's disappointing and it's disheartening because the more variety we have downtown, the more of a draw it is to bring shoppers downtown," said Powers, who owns Culinary Concepts on Park Street. "When you start to lose stores it is disappointing."

With more development in neighboring communities serving as competition, Powers believes the role of Andover's downtown businesses must evolve with the changing circumstances.

"We have to be a destination for something specific," said Powers. "Now we really have to be specialized.

"Business is tough downtown," she said. "I think it's been getting tougher."

Andover Business Center Association has been organizing special events, such as last month's Andover Days, to bring people downtown and highlight what various stores offer.

Kleuber said the issues affecting businesses are not unique to downtown Andover.

"Business in Massachusetts in general is really a problem," said Kleuber. "I think Massachusetts is in a downward swing for some reason."

Kleuber, who owns Regina Gifts with her husband Henry, also operates stores in Norwood, Arlington and Melrose.

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