Among the biggest furniture business in the United States is closing its shop near the Maine Mall and opening a smaller store in downtown Rose city, going against a 40-year-old trend towards huge box stores in the suburbs dominating the region’s furniture business.
Ethan Allen, a Connecticut-based chain that sells high-end furniture, has almost 300 stores nationally, mainly in suburban areas. Its move to Portland represents the very first time that a person of its New England stores has actually moved from the suburbs to a downtown place, Paradis said.
The increase of the Internet has also encouraged sellers to open little stores appropriate for downtown places, stated Frank ‘Connor, business broker with the Dunham Group in Rose city. Because consumers have actually ended up being comfortable with the concept of purchasing online, retailers can now display their entire stock online rather than fill spacious structures, said ‘Connor, the broker for 145 Business St.
Starbucks moved in earlier this year. Edgecomb Potters is closing its store on Exchange Street, where it’s been located for almost 20 years, and opening a new shop in the center of the structure. Ethan Allan will open in the corner area on Nov. 1. ‘Connor stated a high-end boutique is anticipated to move into an area in the back of the structure.
He said Commercial Street, which runs along the waterfront and formerly shared the right-of-way with rail lines, is emerging as the city’s premier area for sellers, in part because of its proximity to the Ocean Entrance traveler terminal and the hordes of cruise ship passengers that disembark there.
The steady flow of pedestrians on Commercial Street will increase the shop’s exposure, stated Heather Paradis, Ethan Allen local supervisor. The move becomes part of an emerging national pattern in which high-end sellers are moving to downtowns looking for upscale clients, who are increasingly investing more of their free time in downtowns or moving there themselves. The standard knowledge has been that clients want to see great deals of inventory and lots of totally free parking. But Ethan Allen is banking on a brand-new smaller-is-better design that sees foot traffic as a driver of new company.
Nationally, he noted that huge sellers such as Walmart and Sports Authority have started moving into city markets with smaller stores. Until just recently, the 12,000-square-foot building at 145 Business St. was an office building, but it’s now being converted into a coffee bar and 3 retail areas. The business is moving its store at 160 Western Ave. in South Portland, its home for nearly twenty years, to 145 Commercial St. in Portland. The brand-new 4,500-square-foot shop is less than half the size of its present shop.