Changes at Historic Properties

Three retailers close their doors

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Things a little quiet these days down at the Historic Properties. Argyle Fine Art has moved up to Barrington Street, Harbour Swan Gift Shop has closed, as has Lady Luck Boutique, which moved much of its stock to its Hydrostone location (5519 Young Street, 444-3050). “The other store did great in the summer but the winters were long,” says a Lady Luck staffer. “But they were able to bring a lot of the furniture from there to here. [The owners] are really excited about the change.”

Handsmiths (492-4438), the artisan and craft boutique, will close January 24 following a decade in business, and is in the midst of a clearance sale. “We had a run,” says owner Bernie Schelew. “We had a lot of fun.” Schelew gives many reasons for the shop closing, including that a drop in sales might have to do with Historic Properties being the last stop on the waterfront, with Pier, 21, 22, Bishop’s Landing and all the other retailers along the boardwalk drawing attention. “There’s a lot more shopping opportunities for tourists.”

He also points to the changes going on in Historic Properties, for example, the shrinking food court and the shuttering of adjacent businesses. But he indicates there has been interest in the Handsmiths assets and name, so it may continue under new management either in its current location or elsewhere, though it’s too early to say for certain. Schelew also has confidence in The Armour Group---the Historic Properties overseers---plans this year to refurbish and reposition the waterfront mall, highlighting its history and hopefully making it more of a tourist destination as a result. “If they follow through then the place will bounce back.”

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