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Rehabbed Felter’s Mill ‘home ʽsuiteʼ home for mix of tenants

By Rod Lee

For Denise Kirk, Laurie Vezina Desmarais and other businesspersons, taking up residence in Felter’s Mill on West Street in Millbury was like wrapping themselves in a favorite old blanket.

Or returning to a cherished childhood home.

“I needed to relocate and someone told me about this place,” Ms. Kirk said the morning of July 17th. “It’s been fabulous.”

Ms. Kirk moved National Gallery Framing & Gifts to Felter’s Mill after taking ownership of the store, which had been situated on Putnam Hill Road in Sutton, when the previous proprietor, Dottie DesLauriers, retired. The lease in Sutton was up as well. Ms. Kirk was in quest of a new address. She settled into Felter’s Mill “going on six years ago,” she said.

Her space in Millbury has enabled Ms. Kirk to expand the scope of the shop by “gravitating toward upscale quality vintage pieces,” solid wood in most cases, many of these brought in by some of the twenty-five or so artisans she works with, many requiring only a coat of chalk paint or a similar refinishing upgrade to be transformed and put on the floor for sale.

While framing remains a staple, National Gallery is also a destination for an array of unique gifts: handmade jewelry, pressed flowers, wax bowls, Healing Touch pottery from New Hampshire.

“My business closely resembles a co-op,” Ms. Kirk said.

Denise Kirk operates National Gallery Framing & Gifts in Felter’s Mill on West St. in Millbury. “Most of my customer base is repeat” traffic, she says.

KRAVE Fitness & Nutrition is one of the mill’s original tenants, at eight years on-site. “I love the mill,” Leah Santello said. Ms. Santello offers over forty specialty group fitness classes a week along with small group personal training and nutrition. She is a fifteen-year veteran of the fitness and health industry with expertise in such components of it as boot camp, muscle conditioning, cardio interval instruction, weight loss and nutrition plans.

KRAVE has done well with conditioning training and nutrition coaching and is presently adding a mom’s support group for newer mothers, which meets on Mondays and Thursdays.

KRAVE is also more kids-friendly all the time.

Speaking of youngsters, the Children’s Consignment Boutique will mark two years at Felter’s Mill in September.

“With three daughters, ages 26, 23 and 10, I had always shopped consignment and thought it would be fun to jump into it,” Wendy Salo said. Ms. Salo’s more than three hundred consigners furnish Children’s Consignment Boutique with puzzles, toys, clothing and other items for “preemies to 10 to 12” years old, Ms. Salo said.

Children’s Consignment Boutique at Felter’s Mill is a brand-new venture for Wendy Salo, who is also an orthodontic assistant.

Throughout the complex, which was initially known for as a manufacturer of felt for boots and hats, occupants are a contented lot. This accounts for no empty suites at the moment.

“We are full!” Kim Romeo of the mill’s management team said in her office on the first floor of the building. “My husband (Gianni Romeo) really had a vision and he and his brother Mario did a great job” renovating the facility. “I had no part in redoing it!”

“I am very happy,” Laurie Vezina Desmarais of ReNew Skin Spa said. “I grew up in Millbury so I wanted to be here.” ReNew takes “a result-oriented approach to skin care,” drawing on Ms. Vezina Desmarais’ medical-spa credentials in skin tightening, skin rejuvenation, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser hair removal.

Felter’s Mill is “a wonderful place for my business,” Laurie Vezina Desmarais of ReNew Skin Spa says. A licensed cosmetologist and aesthetician with more than twenty years’ experience, Ms. Vezina Desmarais offers a range of skin-care treatments.

Just back from Brimfield, which they attend all three times a year the flea market is held, Ann Flanders Doland and her wife Jennifer Doland could not imagine Two Girls Art Studio being anywhere but at Felter’s Mill. Their suite, now sporting new signage on the windows, has allowed them to grow quickly.

“Christmas in July” will be celebrated the rest of the month. DIY classes start in August. Two Girls Art Studio’s client base is getting bigger and the shop is doing more custom orders.

Dixie Bell chalk paint has been introduced as well.

The Dolands’ shop and their story fit nicely at Felter’s Mill as a throwback element. The women salvage antique and vintage pieces as well as vintage wood from barns, farmhouses and other places all over New England, saving these from the dump—turning old into new.

Seaman Engineering Corp., founded in 1995 and located in Unit C at Felter’s Mill for almost two years, specializes in the design of HVAC, plumbing and fire protection systems for new and existing buildings: colleges and universities, apartment buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, banks, health clubs, town halls and courthouses—for instance.

Kevin R. Seaman, president, and Debra Seaman, VP, CFO, speaking by conference telephone, said “we really like it here. The open floor plan allows us to interact among ourselves. Our clients enjoy the location and the atmosphere, how beautiful it is, the whole feel of the place which is very welcoming—homey.”

Contours Medical Aesthetics, on the second floor of the mill in Suite 25 for five and a half years now, is two businesses in one. Cool sculpting and laser treatments, which “bring science and art” together to create “natural results,” are complemented by a medical practice, Contours Office Manager Kristen Feifert Clark said.

“We are very personalized in our approach,” Ms. Feifert Clark said. Steps have been taken so that Contours’ space “doesn’t feel like a medical office at all.”

Life at Felter’s Mill is good, she said.

“All of the floors have dings and drags and oil marks,” she said, giving the mill a character and charm it would otherwise not possess.

 Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.