“Wait and See Approach” Taken by Retailers in Old Port


Trudy, a Four Month Old English Sheepdog, is a New in-House Dog at Something’s Fishy, at 32 Exchange Street.  June 1st Was Her First Day at Her New Job.  She Peeded Twice Inside and Broke a Cup With Her Leash.  Otherwise, it was a Great First Day on The Job Said Her Boss, Mike Jones.

Kevin Ouelette, Owner of a New Souvenir Shop, in the Old Port, at 28 Milk Street.

Sharon Hill, owner of The Leather Exchange Today.

Jeff Curtis, Owner of Sherman’s Books, Working on a Rack in Preparation for Wednesday, June 3rd Re-Opening.

“It’s a shame that protesters are destroying businesses.  We are just trying to survive,” said Mike Jones, of Something’s Fishy, 32 Exchange Street, in the Old Port of Portland, this afternoon. Jones was referring to the closing of the Urban Outfitters broken into during last night’s protests not far from his business.

Jones is also concerned about the lack of street parking due to the closure of Exchange Street and others in the area. He is considering whether or not to put a rack with samples of T-shirts outside for customers to select from.  The popular souvenir business is 38 years old and was begun by his mother and a business partner back in the day.

“We are thrilled that the street is closed because it is going to allow us to sell from the sidewalk to make up for having only five customers in at a time in the store,” said Jeff Curtis, owner of Sherman’s Books.  Curtis was working on a rolling rack, one of six of them,  that will be rolled out onto Exchange Street each morning. On each rack there will be a selection of books. At the end of the business day, employees can roll the racks back into the store until the next day. Each rack will have bargain, best sellers and new release books for sale. There will also be three tables with a similar selection of books.  Curtis said Sherman’s on Exchange Street is re-opening Wednesday, June 3rd.

Sharon Hill, owner of The Leather Exchange, 38 Exchange Street, was preparing for her official reopening next week. She’s considering selling her stunning leather products (hats, belts, handbags, wallets, clogs & sandals) outside, but isn’t sure whether these products will sell there.  “I will miss the business from the cruise ships. They bring in a significant amount of business,” Hill said this afternoon.  Her business is 21 years old.  She has three young children who are on-line learners.  “It can be a challenge,” she said smiling.  (See above left photo of Hill).

The manager at the Cotton Garden said she reopened yesterday having been closed since the end of March.  To enter the store, masks are required and there is a five person limit.  “The owner has been really good about keeping the business safe from the virus,” she said.  Jewerly is for sale at 20% off. Located at 55 Exchange Street, the business is almost 19 years old.

The Paper Patch, the oldest business in the Old Port, 21 Exchange Street,  plans to open on Thursday, June 4th.  Whether or not the owner intends to expand onto the street is unknown to this blogger.  The Patch is the major distributor of the popular “ByeBye Susan” magnets in the Old Port.  (Please see post herein dated January 24, 2020 for more information).

Kevin Ouellette, a professional photographer, just opened a new business – a souvenir shop at 28 Milk Street, near The Paper Patch.  He is selling souvenirs made only in Maine so visitors can take a piece of Maine home with them.  This is his first retail business.  “It’s the smallest retail shop in all of Maine,” he said today.  “It’s 100 sq. ft.”  He has twenty different artists selling in his shop and he may invite them to display their work outside his shop in time.  “I’m taking a wait and see approach.  I hope it’s wonderful,” he said.  (See above right photo).