As construction cranes rise over downtown and tarped-over scaffolding masks Main Street buildings, it would appear that Andover is in the throes of some sort of a business renaissance.
With at least a half-dozen projects or moves underway, the town is also contributing to the growth by reconfiguring its parking plan, a move that was recently endorsed by a vote at Annual Town Meeting.
According to Planning Director Paul Materazzo and Business, Arts and Culture Director Ann Ormond, the changes are part of a national trend.
"Andover is fortunate to have a vibrant and sought after downtown destination for all types of consumer retail," they said in a joint statement to the Andover Townsman. "There is a natural and expected shifting and changing in the retail world across the Commonwealth and the country."
They added: "A steady economy brings a vibrant and energetic downtown and we are lucky to have that here in Andover."
CoCo Collection, a boutique shopping stop that offers contemporary clothing and accessories for women, moved across Main Street - from 8 Main St. to One Main St. - on May 1.
"CoCo Collection seems to be on a seven-year Main Street cycle," owner Nancy Dube wrote in an email to the Townsman. "We were seven years at 93 Main, seven years at 8 Main and looking forward to seven more years at One Main."
Dube went on to say her lease was up at 8 Main St. and "our landlord presented us with an opportunity we couldn’t pass up in his building just across the street."
CoCo Collection shared the retail space at 8 Main St. with Salon Navid, formerly Indra Salon, since 2012, and enjoyed the closeness of the two businesses.
"We have enjoyed every minute of our shared space with first Indra Salon and then Salon Navid. The friendships we made and the natural synergy with the salons was amazing and will remain strong. Change is always energizing and we look forward to this exciting new chapter for CoCo Collection," Dube wrote.
A "for rent" sign now hangs in a window at 8 Main St.
Montalto real estate
A similar sign will most likely go up at Lillian Montalto's real estate business at 34 Park St. as she is building a brand new three-story office building next door, where Learning Express was located for over 20 years. Her real estate business will move there.
Town officials approved Montalto's building plans months ago. The first order of business was to demolish the Learning Express building at 32 Park St. and that was done on April 19.
Montalto said she wanted to keep the former Learning Express building but it was structurally unsafe for an addition.
"I wanted to save it but just couldn't," she said.
The foundation for her new office building was expected to be poured this week and construction will follow.
"I'm very excited," she said of her project.
But, she has no idea what business will replace her current location at 34 Park St. Her realty has anchored that small strip mall for years. Sal's Andover is the other anchor while a retail space between the two businesses is vacant.
At 28 Park St., the ice cream business J.P. Licks is getting ready to open. Company officials would only say "sometime in June" when asked about the opening date. The ice cream business will be located where Orange Leaf used to be. Orange Leaf closed in 2017 after seven years there.
Two other big projects are also already underway, including the retail development at Draper Block, 89-93 Main St., and the new steak house, Smythe & Dove Bar & Grille, in Andover Village Square. It is located at the former longtime Andover Bookstore building, which was demolished. The bookstore moved across the street, and is now located at 74 Main St.