“The street closing of vehicular traffic has been the nail in my coffin. The Council had good intentions, but the closing of the street to vehicular traffic was ill conceived and poorly executed. It’s transformed a vibrant street for retail into a glorified dog walk,” said Rob Sevigny, owner of The Paper Patch, 21 Exchange Street, earlier today of his decision to close the 51 year old business – probably the oldest business in the Old Port of Portland.
Sevigny, the fourth owner of the iconic business, said he does not have a definitive closing date, but he is aiming for the end of September.
In the meantime, he is clearing out his inventory with an immediate sale of his current stock. All seasonal items and paper napkins are 40% off. Bags, ribbons and wrapping paper are 25% off the regular price. “Business closing” signs will be in the windows tomorrow, Friday, July 17, 2020.
Twenty-one Exchange Street is the third location for this card and stationery business. The first location was at 13 Exchange Street; the second location was at 17 Exchange Street and this business has been at 21 Exchange Street for the past eight years.
Sevigny left the 17 Exchange Street address because of a series of never ending leaks coming from the apartments above. “Water leaks are hard on paper products,” said Sevigny grinning. His landlord was Joe Soley. He has nothing but high praise for his current landlord with whom he still has a significant lease.
I’m devastated of course by this decision because I’ve been here for 20 years,” he said. “But I’m fortunate that I’m old because I can get social security. But I’ve never experienced anything like this in terms of sales. There is no foot traffic here.”
Sevigny said he plans on focusing on the wholesale distribution of note cards under the name: Lighthouse Letterpress. The company already has accounts on Cape Cod and in the Boston area. The company has over 100 designs for the product line – known for its simplicity of design and elegance. Part of the success of The Paper Patch to date has been that he sold cards and other products from small and independent companies. “I sold no mass marketing paper products that will be found in grocery and drug stores.”
Dean Cole, owner of D. Cole Jewelers for over forty years, said today: “We are old timers here. It is so sad to see a long-time business closing. We are doing the best we can. It’s a trickle down economy. If restaurants do well, it helps everyone.”