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Downtown: Today’s the day for Employment Security renovation decision

Today, the linchpin in developer Steve Duprey’s plan for the state Employment Security headquarters could fall into place.

Or today, that plan could fall apart entirely.

If Duprey gets his way, the outdated building on South Main Street would be renovated as the headquarters for Company C, a home decor design studio based on Old Turnpike Road in Concord. That new development could be flanked by high-end apartments, other commercial space and possibly a new city library.

But Company C has been considering other options for its headquarters and might pull out of the project, which would kill Duprey’s plan.

And the one-month negotiating period set by the city council expires today.

“Nothing much new to report other than we continue to work on it, and Company C is continuing their analysis of the feasibility of moving downtown and we hope that will be completed prior to (today’s) council meeting,” Duprey wrote in an email last week.

Duprey and his team need the flagship Company C store and its offices in the project to apply for the federal new market tax credits, he said.

The city had also considered a proposal from a Vermont developer, but the council voted last month to negotiate with Duprey and his team instead.

Without Duprey, City Manager Tom Aspell said he was unsure what would happen to the building, which the state plans to vacate later this year.

“That’s something the council would have to discuss, because the state still intends to sell the property,” Aspell said.

Company C President Walter Chapin did not respond to a request for comment.

“If we’re successful, we would like to have Company C move down to Main Street because we think they are the kind of nationally known, destination retailer who will help bring shoppers downtown,” Duprey said in an interview last week.

We all scream for (pints of) ice cream

Soon, customers will be able to take home a pint – or two, or more – of Granite

State Candy Shoppe ice cream, owner Jeff Bart said.

“We make a super premium homemade ice cream here, and one of the most requested things here in our store in Concord, but also from our wholesalers, they would like to be able to (buy and) sell ice cream in pint containers,” Bart said. “So we set out to do that.”

Granite State Candy Shoppe sells large containers of its homemade ice cream to other scoop shops, Bart said, but the pints will be available in his stores and for wholesalers.

At the Warren Street store in Concord, Bart said he expects a pint of ice cream to cost about $6. Nineteen different flavors – including the popular coffee toffee crunch and newer options like coconut sunshine – will be available in pints sometime this spring. And of course, chocolate and vanilla.

“All the classics,” Bart said.

Back to the neighborhood

When Vivid Hair Studio moves into the old Green Martini on Pleasant Street Extension, co-owners Kori Lodi and Heather Skoby won’t be serving up drinks like the bar did.

But when the hair studio relocates to that address next month, Lodi said she expects the business will cater to its own breed of regulars.

“It’s going to be totally different than anything else downtown,” Lodi said.

Lodi and Skoby hopped from salon to salon in Concord together before they opened Vivid Hair Studio in Bow three years ago. The space they will now occupy has been empty since a fire closed the Green Martini in February 2012.

CATCH Neighborhood Housing owns the building and leases market-rate apartments on its upper floors.

Lodi said she, Skoby and newly hired Crystal Tardif run a “wicked fun” salon, a place where longtime customers and newcomers can socialize with each other and with the stylists.

“Downtown’s kind of making a comeback,” Lodi said.

Vivid Hair Studio will open at 6 Pleasant St. Extension on Feb. 6.

‘Eat Well, Be Well’

The Concord Food Co-op will offer its annual series of classes on healthy cooking and living during the next five weeks.

But wellness educator Maria Noel Groves said this year’s “Eat Well, Be Well” series will be different and fresh, “not just, we know we should eat more grains, we know we should eat more beans, and blah blah blah,” she said.

“This year, we decided to focus a little bit more on longevity and foods that prevent disease and help us feel well on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

The course runs Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m., today until Feb. 10. Noel Groves or dietitian Traci Komorek will present to the class on topics like the best mood-boosting foods or the best foods for healthy bones and skin, and one of the co-op chefs will lead a cooking demonstration with recipes like curried butternut squash soup or triple-mushroom brown rice risotto.

Participants will also get a copy of The Longevity Kitchen Cookbook.

“I think they’re topics that interest everybody,” Noel Groves said. “Almost everybody is interested in feeling well, and having a healthy heart and blood sugar.”

The series begins today, but registration is open until Jan. 20. The fee is $30 for Concord Food Co-Op members, $35 for nonmembers. Visit concordfoodcoop.coop/classes for more information.

Calling all story ideas

You might not have recognized my face on top of this column, but I’m Megan Doyle, the reporter who will now be covering happenings in Concord and at city hall.

Please feel free to call or email with any story ideas or column topics. You’ll find my contact information just below – all tips are welcome.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Just more smoke and mirrors.

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