hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


January 10, 2013

Surviving the growing pains of economic change

It’s all about growing pains.

For years after Haverhill’s shoe factories closed, the western end of downtown was a prime spot for businesses like antique shops to open. The rent was cheap because building owners were looking to fill up empty storefronts. A handful of successful businesses kept enough people coming downtown to create a customer base.

Antique shop owner Richard Tierney developed a deeper customer base through the grapevine of antique enthusiasts. Enough of them knew about his Antique World on downtown Washington Street to keep sales steady.

Tierney’s shop is gone now, relocated to Kingston, N.H. (See story, Page 1.) As the downtown began to evolve five or so years ago into a restaurant row with successful eateries and lounges, Tierney discovered the irony that more visitors to the area did not translate to more sales. The new people were coming for a good meal, a few drinks and social time, not to browse for antiques.

Tierney told the Gazette that his rent began to increase as property values soared with the area’s new-found success. A business that had been in Haverhill about 18 years was about to abandon ship and head north.

Today, Antique World is in Kingston, partnered with a company that sells hand-made jewelry. Tierney said business is going well, that his new location gets plenty of traffic, bringing him a solid customer base.

It’s too bad Haverhill lost a longtime business as the city’s urban center was reinvented. The good news is that Antique World landed on its feet and is finding success. Hopefully, other companies that left the downtown during its renaissanse are also thriving.

Change, especially the extreme kind which downtown Haverhill has experienced in recent years, is almost certain to bring growing pains.

But the pains appear to be worth it. Once-vacant old shoe factories are packed with hundreds of new condos and apartments. Restaurants and lounges in the Washington Street district are packed with customers most nights of the week. Shops selling arts and other items geared to the new wave of customers appear to be doing well.

At times of great change, there are always people who benefit and those who suffer, or at least are put at risk.

Thankfully, Tierney found success after his move. And the city’s center has also found success in its evolution to a thriving business community.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • waldron

    James Waldron

    James Waldron was city's first true mayor Posted 36 minutes ago 1 Photo
  • The Lamp Post Posted 36 minutes ago
  • 140411_hg_hand_fooddrive

    Mayor James Fiorentini visits the food bank at Emmaus Inc. and meets with Emmaus' Americorp/VISTA volunteers Alexandra Elwell, Alison Lee and Gabriella Berger. They organized a food drive to replenish the supply at the bank.

    Emmaus Inc. looks to help the hungry Posted 36 minutes ago 1 Photo
  • Haverhill Real Estate Posted 36 minutes ago
  • sculpture

    RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photo. Haverhill High School's new sculpture was dedicated April 17.

    The week's news in review Posted 36 minutes ago 1 Photo
  • museum

    Courtesy photo Step into the past at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum. A new area, devoted to children, will open there May 3.

    Firefighting museum to unveil child-oriented exhibit Posted 36 minutes ago 1 Photo
  • 140412_hg_tje_celebration_02

    TIM JEAN/Staff photo. Vincent Buonanno, of Methuen, and member of their Sons of Italy, speaks before dinner to celebrate the Sons of Italy Victor Emanuel Lodge of Haverhill 75th anniversary of their Drum & Bugle Corps. 4/12/14

    Marching in Posted 36 minutes ago 8 Photos
  • Community Television Posted 36 minutes ago
  • Haverhill police log Posted 36 minutes ago
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
  • 140415_HG_MSC_ROBOT_4

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Jazzy Brown, 4, of Haverhill, works with a a Robot named Connor as Behavior Specialist Julie Bernier looks on, during an interactive session at the Moody School in Haverhill.

    Their best friend's a robot Posted 7 days ago 5 Photos

Photos of the Week