Concord-based Company C furniture store moving to temporary location downtown

  • Company C co-founders Christine and Walter Chapin sort through colorful yarn at their furniture store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord on Friday. 

  • Company C co-founders Christine and Walter Chapin peruse through a rug display at their store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord on Friday.  LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

  • Company C co-founders Christine and Walter Chapin sort through colorful yarn at their furniture store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord on Friday. LEAH WILLINGHAM Monitor staff

  • Company C co-founder Christine Chapin peruses through a rug display at her store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord on Friday.  LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

  • Company C employee Brooklyn Ficek, Concord Store Manager Jody Johnson and Design Associate Terry Borè sort through fabrics at the store at Old Turnpike Road on Friday.  LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

  • The interior of Company C’s retail store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord includes rug and fabric displays.

  • Company C’s Concord Store Manager Jody Johnson sorts through fabrics at the store on Old Turnpike Road on Friday.  LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

  • From left, Company C employee Brooklyn Ficek, Concord store manager Jody Johnson and design associate Terry Borè sort through fabrics at the store on Old Turnpike Road on Friday.

  • The interior of Company C’s retail store on Old Turnpike Road in Concord. LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

  • Company C is moving into the Concord Antiques building at 97 Storrs St. by the end of March. LEAH WILLINGHAM photos / Monitor staff

  • Company C will be moving into the Concord Antiques building at 97 Storrs Street by the end of March.  LEAH WILLINGHAM / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/18/2020 6:37:10 PM

Company C will be moving its retail furniture store from its current Concord Heights space to a new location downtown by the end of March, co-founder and president Walter Chapin said.

The new store at 97 Storrs St., where Concord Antiques is now, will include 12,000 square feet split between two floors, Chapin said, making it among the biggest retail spaces downtown. It will sell Company C’s signature colorful mid-to-high-end furniture, rugs, bedding and fabrics.

The space will be an upgrade in location and space for Company C – the furniture store’s current site on Old Turnpike Road is 8,600 square feet.

“It’s a big move for us,” Chapin said Friday. “As a company, we’ve been a huge supporter of Concord redevelopment downtown, and our business has been growing. We’re excited – we have some momentum to tell our story to a larger audience.”

The move, though, is temporary. The site is where developer Tom Balon plans to build a multi-use building with an underground parking garage, retail or restaurant component and 10 condos.

However, due to rising construction costs and other unexpected engineering challenges, Balon has delayed his project for one year, until April 2021.

Chapin said the delay is a great opportunity for Company C to get a taste of doing business downtown.

“It’s a chance to try a downtown location,” Chapin said. “I hope it goes really well and that we can continue on, maybe with Tom in his new building, or maybe somewhere else.”

“The game plan is really just not known right now,” Chapin added.

Balon agreed that a lot is still undecided, but said he hopes Company C might be able to set up a permanent retail space on the bottom floor of the new building once it opens.

A major setback on construction of the new development has been the utility poles in front of the building. In order for his building to go up, Balon wants to bury the lines. However, the water main is located in the space where he had hoped to bury the lines. He said he is funding another civil engineering study to figure out how to address that issue.

Another issue has been rising construction costs. A year ago, the total cost of Balon’s project was $9 million, including site acquisition, demolition and construction. That budget has now risen closer to $10 million, he said.

He is also looking at his budget to see where he can interject value engineering options – which basically translates to using less steel and more wood, he said.

Meanwhile, he’s seen a lot of interest in the project. Around half of the three-bedroom, 2½ bath 2,200 square foot condos are spoken for. The cost per unit will be around $650,000 to $750,000.

“Delaying only helps us. Interest rates are low, the outlook is good,” he added. “It just gives us time to get our ducks in a row.”

Concord Antiques’ location at 97 Storrs St. is closing on Jan. 31. In April, Balon opened up a second antique store down the road at 137 Storrs St. All of the materials from the cooperative of 120 antique dealers will be moved to the newer location.

There is a 20% to 50% off moving sale ongoing until 97 Storrs shuts its doors. Then, Chapin will come in, do some painting inside and outside the building, put in new flooring and signage and move in his products.

While the Company C store will be moving to Storrs Street, its warehouse and offices will remain on Old Turnpike Road, Chapin said.

On Friday, Company C co-founder Christine Chapin, Walter’s wife, was walking through the Concord store, past rug displays hanging from the ceiling, and couches set up with vibrant plush throw pillows.

“We’ve already started the reorganizing process,” Christine Chapin said, pointing to a section of blank wall where displays have already been taken down. “There’s definitely a lot of excitement around here.”

The Chapins said it’s been a goal of theirs for the last eight years or so to move Company C’s Concord store downtown. Its second store, in Portland, Maine, is downtown on Commercial Street.

“The challenge has just been finding a large enough space because our products are big and furniture takes up a lot of space,” Walter Chapin said.

“We are expecting to find customers and have customers find us that didn’t really drive up Old Turnpike Road,” he added. “It’s a walkable community and we’re excited just about new eyes. We hope it leads to us having to hire another person or two. We’re planning to make the transition with the same staff now.”

Company C was founded in 1994 by the Chapins in a garage behind their home on Auburn Street.

Since then, they’ve moved twice – once to a location on Airport Road, where they stayed for seven years, and another time to their current location, at 102 Old Turnpike Road, where they’ve been for 15 years.

Their approach to color – and using a lot of it in floral designs, plaids, damask and paisleys, oftentimes in unexpected ways – has brought the couple widespread success. They are especially renowned for their custom, handcrafted rugs.

The company sells furniture to stores and fills custom orders across the country. Chapin said more than half of Company C’s business is now outside the Northeast. The company sells to more than 1,000 retailers and interior designers in the United States and markets goods in showrooms nationwide.

Chapin said 20% of their business comes from their two stores, in Concord and Portland. At each of their stores, Company C has design consultants that help customers search through unique fabrics to design whole new spaces.

With its reach, Company C could set up a retail store anywhere in the country. However, Chapin said he doesn’t see the company leaving Concord.

“Concord is our home,” Chapin said. “This is where we started, and we love being here. We’ve built a clientele of people who know us in Concord – we like the fact that it’s centrally located in New Hampshire, so it’s great for business. It’s an opportunity for us – We want to be part of Concord’s growth.”

Dawn Triconi, executive director of Intown Concord, said the move by Company C will make it one of the largest local retailers in the downtown area.

“The food co-op would be the only comparable store size-wise,” she said. “We’ll see more foot traffic and people will have more of a shopping destination. Anything we can do to bring residents or visitors downtown, that’s an A-plus for me.”




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