By Rod Lee
Few people are happier to see the arrival of the season of rebirth in the Blackstone Valley than Bob Conlon and Jeanne Silvia.
On a rainy afternoon—the first Wednesday in the month of April—Mr. Conlon and Ms. Silvia talked with the Blackstone Valley Xpress about being brand-new businesses in the historic Stanley Woolen Mill complex on Mendon St. in Uxbridge.
Their neighboring ventures in side-by-side buildings—Stanley Mill Antiques in Mr. Conlon’s case and Primitive Goods in Ms. Silvia’s—are certainly a good fit on the site, which lies in the heart of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
Once home to a world-renowned manufacturing operation, the structures in which Mr. Conlon and Ms. Silvia have set up shop fell into disuse in the late 1990’s but were restored by private firms between 2005 and 2010.
Now Stanley Mill Antiques and Primitive Goods can tout themselves as successors to a textiles company that made military uniforms from the time of the Civil War through World War II, that sold garment to the likes of Evan Picone, Perry Ellis, Brooks Brothers and Hager and that was enlisted for the filming of scenes for the movies “The Great Gatsby” (1974) and “Oliver’s Story” (1978).
Mr. Conlon, apologizing for “my greasy hands” (he had been working in a corner of his shop), was eager to let people know he has arrived.
“We were at 207 No. Main St.,” he said, of his former space at Lucille’s Floral Designs. “I love it here. We’ve only been open a week and we’re not full upstairs. I have room for twenty-five vendors.”
The first floor of Stanley Mill Antiques is already bursting with interesting collectibles, furniture and tools and there’s more where those came from, Mr. Conlon said.
“I have an old hand-crank washing machine. I’m going to see if Imperial might want it,” he said, referring to the auto dealership in Mendon and Owner Kevin Meehan’s fondness for accent pieces that proclaim “ancient.”
“I have an old 1880’s treadle wood lathe and an old 1880’s McLaughlin table saw. I have a following for this kind of stuff. I also have an old cider mill press—commercial size.”
A few steps away from Mr. Conlon’s store, Ms. Silvia’s beaming smile was all the evidence anyone would have needed that Primitive Goods had literally opened that very day.
“We are really a little bit of everything…antiques, primitives, country, farmhouse,” she said. “We all love this building. Our merchandise is spread across five different rooms and a hallway.”
Primitive Goods will have a grand launch on May 5th and 6th.
Both stores are taking full advantage of two floors they have at their disposal for the display of merchandise.
Stanley Mill Antiques and Primitive Goods are part of a burgeoning retail scene in the town of Uxbridge.
Typifying this are enterprises like A Touch of Magick, which relocated from downtown to 195 S. Main St. (just north of the courthouse) about a month ago—after a year in business.
“I didn’t want to leave where I was but my husband bought this property and it’s perfect,” Owner Deb Kennedy said of her consignment store.
She welcomes the additional parking that comes with the building.
Arts and crafts studios are renting space upstairs. It is an ideal arrangement for all involved.
A Touch of Magick will host a psychic and crafters fair on April 21st from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in welcoming the public to its new quarters.
Meanwhile Pat Benoit, who has held the fort as an anchor in downtown Uxbridge with “Rita’s” for many years, was championing “10 to 50 percent off all month long” as a step into spring.
Ms. Benoit noted that birdfeeders, water fountains, gnomes and birdhouses are particularly popular this time of year.
The same is true at Joyful Things on N. Main St. in Uxbridge, where Joy Demers is in a spring mode with “outdoor…gardening, planters, watering cans” to go with arts and crafts items, mixed media and “DIY.”
Ms. Demers “co-events” with Bernat Antiques “on Facebook” as one way to attract customers.
At Chevere Beads & Boutique, just down the road from Joyful Things at 336 N. Main St., Owner Pat DeVries said “I’m taking orders for Mother’s Day and graduations and we have a fun trunk show for beads the first Saturday of the month.” The next one will take place on May 5th.
Around the corner from Chevere, Tony Fraga of G2 Sports Cards, 3 W. Hartford Ave., made light of the question “what’s coming up?” by jokingly responding “I’ve got Tom Brady coming in in a couple of weeks.”
G2 Sports Cards is about more than its name suggests. A framed autographed drawing of Ted Williams is one example; fervor for “Magic: The Gathering” and “Pokemon” are as well. Mr. Fraga also buys gold and silver.
“Vintage” cards are always a top seller, Mr. Fraga said. “Cards from the 50s and 60s are hot, new basketball stuff because the Celtics are doing well. I get so much stuff that walks in off the street. It’s crazy.”
Shannon Roddy and her staff at Simply Posh Consignment Boutique in Douglas are glad to see spring for an important reason, Maya Gagne, who was clerking at the store on April 4th, said.
“The bridge work (on North St.) has affected our business,” Ms. Gagne said. “It’s supposed to be done by June.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.
Simply Posh Consignment Boutique in Douglas specializes in private parties. “We try to do at least two a month,” Maya Gagne, pictured in the store, said.