Nestled between the storefront windows of 62 Wingate St. rests a cardboard sun smiling out to the world.
For years, the cutout has been passed from one shop owner to the next at the location. Typically, the painted sun gets put into the dark of a storage closet whenever a business closes its doors there.
Now the sun is smiling on Margaret Sims and her soon-to-open business, Bride to Bride Boutique and Upscale Event Consignment.
"This was a dream of mine for over 20 years," Sims said. "We scraped the money together to do this."
Specializing in wedding dresses and higher-end formal wear, Sims wants Bride to Bride to offer a premier location for consignment wedding dresses. Before opening the shop, Sims spent the past eight months acquiring more than 100 dresses through craigslist and other websites to make gently used dresses available to customers.
"A lot of dresses are ones the customers bought, but the wedding just didn't happen," she said.
The road to the new business was far from easy, Sims said.
She formerly held a job as a police officer in Florida while her husband, Craig Goodrich, worked as an officer for the Salisbury Police Department. The two met during a conference and eventually gave up their careers to raise their daughter, Katie, and try their hand at the real estate market.
But her family lost most of their income to the failing market in 2009.
After moving from their Florida home to Massachusetts to live with and take care of Goodrich's then-ailing parents, finding work became a daily struggle for Sims and her husband. She said that within a three-month period, she sent out 875 resumes for any and all positions, even retail sales jobs.
"I was getting no call-backs," she said.
Haverhill provided just the spark she needed.