Buried in the Mayor’s email, meriting just a quick mention, is the fact that two retailers have announced at 28 Austin: Henry Bear’s Park and Caffe Nero. Both of these are pretty significant and are good drivers of foot traffic. These are the types of retailers that bring life to a street.
Henry Bear’s Park is a regional retailer with 7 other locations (Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Dedham, Ipswich, Newburyport, and Providence). It’s a pretty solid store, though my kids are aged out, HBK was always on my list of go-to places. Also, Newton lacks a gaming store like those that have emerged around Cambridge, Brookline and even Waltham, so I hope they bring some of that here.
Caffe Nero, however, is a fascinating move. That shop has come into the US (and the Boston-area) with a fire in its belly to take on Starbucks, so the fact that its now on the same street is both interesting and in-line with some of its other 27 locations around the area. It also tends to serve as a place to work, which is something Newtonville needs.
It’ll be interesting to see how this affects George Howell, which does well even with a Starbucks (and Dunks) just stone’s throw away. I like George Howell (I was a devotee of its predecessor run by Nik Krankl, who now makes wine) and tend to go in there when I’m looking for a better coffee drink. Still, it’s not a place where I spend a couple of hours on a laptop.
I know Howell had an uptick in business when the Starbucks shut down for renovations, but not sure how many customers will stick around now that there are other fast and cheap options.