WATERTOWN – During last year’s holiday shopping season, merchant Marylois Queal thought about moving her downtown clothing store, Loft 315, to the Salmon Run Mall.
But she figured she’d hold out in her Franklin Street window.
A few weeks later, she discovered that she would have to close for at least three or four months while Neighbors of Watertown and Jefferson Community College proceeded with the construction of the JCC Education Center.
Ms Queal, 46, opened her business in the mall on Wednesday to avoid being in limbo for months.
“I love it here,” she said, emphasizing that she has no regrets about the move.
She did more business in two days than she would have done in an entire month downtown, the businesswoman said.
She rents about 3,200 square feet — about 2½ times more space than downtown — in a store next to the Torrid store.
For now, she is the only employee of the company she created in 2019.
She would like to add a few part-time employees first, and then expand that number to eight in the future.
With the move, she is switching from her own brand of jeans that she sold at Loft 315 to “more general clothing” that matches the atmosphere of the mall, Ms Queal said.
This is not the first time she has worked at the mall. Her first job was working in the children’s department at Bon-Ton, then Lerner’s Shop, and she helped open the Disney Store in the mid-1990s.
“I feel like I’m back home,” she said.
Ms Queal was forced to move after the Franklin Street building was sold to Neighbors late last year. She found out about the business when some contractors showed up one day.
“I miss downtown, but I don’t miss politics,” she said.
She closed the downtown store in January. It took him from then on to prepare the new location for the opening, completely remodel the space and put the inventory on shelves.
Her husband, Jon, and her three children helped her.
“It was an extremely difficult move,” she said.
On Friday afternoon, Jessica Cushenberry stopped by the new dig and bought a sundress. She never shopped at the old location, saying she didn’t even know it existed.
“It’s nice, good stuff, good prices,” she said.
The store is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. These hours will change in a few weeks to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.