Business Notes: Plaza Owner Advertising for Tenant for Payless Shoes Spot

Valley News Business Writer
Saturday, February 10, 2018

The new owner of Kmart Shopping Plaza in West Lebanon is looking for a new tenant to move into the space currently occupied by Payless Shoes.

Atlantic Retail, the commercial real estate broker representing new plaza owner The Davis Co., posted on its website that it is seeking a tenant for the 2,972-square-foot space. 

Payless Shoes, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, previously announced it would close more than 400 stores on top of another 400 it had already slated for closing, bringing the total to more than 800.

The Davis Co., of Massachusetts, bought the Kmart Plaza along with North Country Plaza in West Lebanon and Miracle Mile Plaza on Route 4 in Lebanon for nearly $27.2 million in December from the commercial property arm of Maine’s Dead River Co.

Interestingly, the shopping center commonly identified as Kmart Plaza in reference to the 106,000-square-foot Kmart store and the Kmart sign at the parking lot entrance, is referred to as “TJ Maxx Plaza” on Atlantic Retail’s website.

A spokesperson for Payless Shoes did not return messages for comment.

Woodstock’s 37 CentralOpens Sister Store in Hanover

Women’s apparel store 37 Central has opened a second location in Hanover in the space formerly occupied by Bella in the alley between Molly’s restaurant and Town Hall.

Central 37 owner Kim Smith, who also owns the Woodstock toy store Red Wagon Toy Co., said the first store “has been doing great, and I’d been looking to diversify for some time and exploring different locations,” and Hanover “is a good fit for us.”

She said the move into the alley location was set in motion when Molly’s building owner Marc Milowsky “approached me and said this would be perfect.”

Smith describes 37 Market as selling women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories that reflect an “on-trend street style, and things for career, date night and special-occasions dresses.” She opened the first Central 37 store in Woodstock in 2006.

Hanover’s Game Set Mat to Close,Focus on Trunk Shows

Hanover tennis and yoga apparel store Game Set Mat will be closing on March 3, although owner Susan Valence said she still plans to offer the store’s lines of active sportswear for sale at “tennis trunk shows” at tennis clubs and in people’s homes.

Valence, who opened Game Set Mat in the former Brambles gift shop space on South Main Street in 2012, said she decided “it was time” to pull back from “overhead and seven days a week” after 4½ years of running the storefront.

“The business had good momentum the first three years, but then did not (do) what I expected,” said Valence.

Also, she noted, her best-selling line, Lucy Activewear, was taken over by VF Corp.’s North Face label and was no longer available.

Valence likened the trunk shows to “pop up” businesses and she says they have been attracting “30 to 50 loyal customers and going well.” The lease on Valence’s store does not expire until July, and she’s looking to sublet the space until then.

Longtime Shearer’s Greenhouse Closes in Bradford, Vt.

After three generations in the family, Bob and Charlotte Welch last week closed Shearer’s Greenhouse on Route 5 in Bradford, Vt.

Charlotte Welch said her husband’s recent surgery motivated their decision to close the business that was founded by Bob Welch’s grandfather, John Shearer, in 1925.  Charlotte Welch said there were no family members interested in taking it over and, although they “toyed” with the idea of finding a buyer, it would be complicated because the greenhouse facility is connected to their own property.

“We’re both 72 so it’s fine,” said Charlotte Welch, who added her main concern now is her husband’s convalescence. “We wish it had been some other way, but we have to think about ourselves.”

Quechee’s Brick & Barn MergesWith Portsmouth Commercial Realtor

Portsmouth commercial real estate brokerage firm One Commercial Real Estate has merged with Quechee residential real estate broker Brick & Barn Real Estate Group to become Brick & Barn’s commercial real estate division, the companies announced in a news release.

One Commercial Real Estate, which focuses on the seacoast market, was launched in 2010 by veteran New Hampshire commercial real estate broker and Lebanon native Bob Marchewka, who will now spearhead Brick & Barn’s expansion into the commercial market.

Brick & Barn was formed in 2017 when Upper Valley natives and onetime Hanover High School classmates Scott Rome and Herb Hart acquired Quechee Lakes Real Estate Center, based in the familiar 19th century red brick farmhouse on Route 4 in Quechee, and renamed the firm Brick & Barn.

T-Bird Mini Marts Owner SellsTo Massachusetts Firm

Cheshire Oil Co., owner of the T-Bird Mini Marts convenience stores and gas stations in Claremont and Newport, N.H.,, has notified T-Bird vendors that it has reached an agreement to sell a “majority of Cheshire Oil’s assets” to a subsidiary of Energy North Group of Lawrence, Mass. The sale was expected to close last Tuesday, the notice to vendors said.

Cheshire Oil’s 10-store T-Bird Mini Marts chain includes two convenience stores in Claremont and one store in Newport in addition to seven other locations outside the Upper Valley in New Hampshire.

The acquisition will significantly expand Energy North Group’s footprint in the Granite State, where it currently owns four convenience stores and gas stations, according to the company’s website. The majority of the company’s stores and gas stations are in Massachusetts and Maine.

Representatives of Cheshire Oil and Energy North Group did not respond to requests for comment.

Out & About

The Cohase Young Professionals is hosting an “CYP open coffee club” on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at The Local Buzz cafe on Main Street in Bradford, Vt. The coffee klatch is described as “an informal meetup that serves as  a great way to share regional community announcements and resources.”

Items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News. Submissions may be sent by email to: biznotes@vnews.com (high-resolution photographs may be attached in .jpg format), or by mail to: Business Notes, c/o Sunday Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. (Photographs cannot be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.) All items are subject to editing for clarity or space.