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Downtown: What will replace Gibson’s after its move?

When Gibson’s Bookstore moves to a new location on South Main Street in the coming year, it will leave behind a storefront in the heart of downtown, between Bread & Chocolate and the Capital Commons building.

There is no tenant lined up to move into 27 S. Main St., according to owner Andy Sanborn, who plans to begin marketing the space in January.

“I’d just like to find a great tenant who can bring a benefit to Concord,” said Sanborn, a Republican state senator who also owns The Draft sports bar on South Main Street with his wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn.

Gibson’s Bookstore announced in May that it will move a few blocks south, into Concord developer Steve Duprey’s new building on the former site of the New Hampshire Bindery. Construction began this year, and Gibson’s owner Michael Herrmann said last week that he hopes to complete the move in July.

“I don’t know what’s going to go in here, I just hope it’s something nice,” Herrmann said of his current location. “It’s such a prime area now in a way that it wasn’t 15, 20 years ago.”

Herrmann is moving his bookstore to expand into a larger space. Gibson’s will lease nearly 14,000 square feet in Duprey’s building, compared with his current 4,000 square feet. The new space will include a cafe, he said, but he declined to give

more details because plans have not been finalized.

Bread & Chocolate will remain at 29 S. Main St., next door to the bookstore’s current location, Herrmann said.

Herrmann owns the bakery space, and told the Monitor earlier this year that he was working with bakery owner Franz Andlinger on a possible move with him to the new building at 43-45 S. Main St. He said those plans fell through because the new space will not have a kitchen.

“We are going to have a really nice cafe in the new bookstore, it’s just not going to be the bakery,” he said.

Gibson’s Bookstore occupied Bread & Chocolate’s current space until 1998, when it moved next door to the space owned by Sanborn.

There is a doorway between the bookstore and the bakery, allowing customers to move between the two stores.

“I think it’s worked real well for both of them,” Sanborn said.

It’s too soon to speculate whether that doorway will remain, Sanborn said, because it depends largely on his future tenant.

“Again, in a challenging economy like today, we’ll talk to everyone,” Sanborn said.

Before Gibson’s Bookstore moved into the space, Sanborn said it was a bike and ski shop.

He said he is “comfortable and confident” he’ll find a new tenant.

“I think it’s a phenomenal space – obviously the South End of Concord is where all the action is today and any potential tenant sees all the development that’s going on there,” Sanborn said.

Herrmann has watched the neighborhood around his bookstore grow and change in recent years.

When he moved in, the bookstore was next to the abandoned Sears building, which was redeveloped as the Capital Commons building and parking garage.

The redevelopment included a plaza between the new building and Gibson’s Bookstore.

“And you know, it’s really a much more upscale neighborhood right now,” Herrmann said.

“The whole end of (Main) Street south of Pleasant has really grown up since we’ve been in this spot.”

New year, new equipment

Red River Theatres will install digital equipment in 2013, after meeting a fundraising goal to replace its 35-millimeter projectors.

Last week, the nonprofit movie theater on South Main Street reached its $175,000 fundraising goal to support the project, according to Executive Director Shelly Hudson.

That amount included a $125,000 tax credit grant from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.

“I think the fact that we were able to complete this so early just speaks to the greater Concord community and how much they value Red River,” Hudson said.

The switch to digital equipment is crucial for Red River because the movie industry will shift from traditional film to digital systems by late 2013 or early 2014, Hudson said. With the industry-wide change, 35-millimeter projectors will become obsolete.

“It’s absolutely a must-have in order for us to be able to continue to do what we do,” Hudson said.

About 85 percent of movie theaters across the country have already converted to digital equipment, Hudson said, and “it’s something that we definitely want to get off our plate.”

New equipment will be installed in both of Red River’s venues during the late winter or early spring, and the work will require the theater to close for a few days, Hudson said.

Red River is still fundraising for a second campaign – its “Funding the Future” annual fund. Hudson said last week that the nonprofit was in need of donations.

“While we are thanking the community for their wonderful support and generosity, we also need to report that our annual fund is a bit short this year because of the emphasis we have had to put on digitization,” she said in a press release.

In an email sent to members and supporters on Saturday, Red River reported that it hoped to raise an additional $15,000 before the year ends tonight.

A friendly feast

The Friendly Kitchen served dinner for the first time in its new South Commercial Street building last week.

The special menu on Thursday night included roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes and peppermint stick ice cream with chocolate sauce, according to Phil Wallingford, president of the soup kitchen’s board of directors.

“Needless to say it was a big hit, and I’ve never heard so many compliments,” Wallingford wrote in an email.

The organization has served meals from three different area churches since its building on Montgomery Street was badly damaged by a fire in 2011. In July, it began construction at the South Commercial Street property.

The Friendly Kitchen held an open house at 2 S. Commercial St. earlier this month but continued serving meals at Sacred Heart Church until Thursday. Manager Jennifer Lombardo said the delay allowed for set up, inspections and licensing for the new building.

Resolution running

The Concord Family YMCA will hold its first annual Resolution 5K walk and run this weekend.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at NHTI.

Check-in and registration will be in the lobby of NHTI’s student union on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., according to the YMCA’s website.

Happy New Year

Downtown parking will be free on New Year’s Day, tomorrow.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or
lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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