Downtown: Mix of businesses making their way to Main Street

  • Ross Mingarelli pours his soy candles in his basement in Warner. Ethan DeWitt

  • The half farmers at Newell Post, which features two eggs, home fries, a pancake, bacon and sausage – and added a grilled blueberry muffin. —Monitor file

  • LeeAnne Vance thumbs through a rack of tops at her shop, Indigo Blues, in Contoocook on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Vance is opening a second store in downtown Concord in May. NICK STOICO

Monitor staff
Published: 4/14/2019 7:26:38 PM

Spring just might be here to stay. And as the grass begins to turn green again, new businesses are popping up in downtown.

Let’s start with the Post, a downtown branch of well-known Concord breakfast spot Newell Post up on Route 3. You might have noticed that Gyro House closed a few weeks back; the Post will be taking its place at 58 N. Main St.

Newell Post has been around since 2012, when former owners David and Deborah Newell took their ice cream stand experience into the breakfast and lunch arena.

Current owner Victoria Johnson of Pembroke said she fell in love with the Newell Post’s homey atmosphere and signature dishes. She took over the business in November – and after hearing the Gyro House would be moving out decided to explore the idea of making a Post outpost downtown.

“I wanted to have a place downtown, that was my original goal,” she said. “That goal was still with me; I really like the Concord downtown, celebrating the community feel.”

The Post’s menu will retain the original’s home-cooking menu, but the decor will have a more modern, urban vibe, Johnson said.

The Post is scheduled to open on May 1.

You might have seen a new store squeeze into the tiny space at the end of the CVS Pharmacy building recently.

That’s CandleTree, a handmade soy candle business based out of Warner. According to a profile the Monitor did two winters ago, owner Ross Mingarelli used to be in the tree service business before he started making candles.

He’s been slinging paraffin-free wax candles since 2016, with scents like strawberry shortcake and silver fir. The store had its grand opening this Saturday.

Also be on the lookout for Busy as a BB, new to the second floor of 8 N. Main St.

According to their website, the Busy team has been making signs, shelves and custom boxes, along with refinishing and repairing furniture, for some time before deciding to open their own store.

They advertise themselves as having an “eclectic mix” of items, like pet accessories, bows and tutus, and home decor. They’re also thinking about delving into fractal wood burning and take custom orders for signs, refinishing furniture and some wedding items.

And if you didn’t catch it on Friday, Contoocook business Indigo Blues & Co. will be opening a second location in the Capital Plaza come May 16, where Posh Hair Studio used to be.

LeeAnne Vance told the Monitor she has long wanted to expand into Concord but was waiting for the right space to open up. She said it can be difficult for a local retail business to make the move to downtown.

“My beef with Main Street in Concord is that it’s easy for the banks to come in and spend all that money because they have backing and they don’t have to fill it with inventory, where it takes us a lot of money to fill a retail shop and keep it moving and keep it fresh,” she said. “It’s hard for a small business owner to step onto Main Street with the amount of money they’re asking for.”

City council notebook

In what has become a biennial tradition, the Concord City Council Rules Committee met Tuesday afternoon to make some changes to the council’s ethics policies.

It’s probably unintentional, but the committee has a track record of convening only about every two years for a handful of sessions, according to committee agendas.

As far as meetings go, Tuesday’s event was relatively short, lasting under an hour, with a focus on clarifying that a “councilor” includes your warded and at-large councilors, as well as the mayor pro tem (or acting mayor if the mayor isn’t at a meeting) and the mayor.

Topics in recent years have revolved around the city council’s ethics ordinances, specifically the parts devoted to councilor conflicts of interest, according to committee minutes.

The last changes made mandated that city councilors with a conflict of interest disclose that interest prior to any city council discussion on the matter, or as soon as the conflict becomes known if discussion has already occurred.

Solar ordinance bumped

If you haven’t already heard, the public hearing for the city’s revision to its solar ordinance has been moved to June.

The key things to know are: the changes would make solar a principal use in all districts except the immediate downtown area and the opportunity corridors district with a conditional use permit; clarify how solar panels contribute to impervious coverage; and set a hard cap at 25 acres for any solar development except in the industrial district

Mayor Jim Bouley made a motion last week to have the public hearing moved, as the city council will have a busy public hearing schedule in May.

Those items will include changes to on-street parking on the city’s “narrow streets,” appropriating money for a new school resource officer at Merrimack Valley Middle School and a rezoning request on Village Street for a CATCH housing project.

Hydrant flushing begins

Each spring, Concord’s general services department flushes city-owned hydrants as part of required routine maintenance to remove any sediment from water distribution pipes.

That process begins Monday and will continue for several weeks.

Water customers may experience low water pressure and discolored water in their area during hydrant flushing, according to the city’s website. Residents should avoid doing laundry during their scheduled flushing time.

If discoloration occurs, run your tap water on cold until the water runs clear.

For a tentative schedule, visit the city’s website.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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