Tell us about Room Tonic and why you started it. Room Tonic (the shop) was, in a way, created for me. It was the name of my staging and design company in NYC before I moved to Marblehead in 2017. I had never owned a brick-and-mortar shop, or even worked a day in retail, but it was a dream of mine to open a shop. Our current location at 22b Atlantic was up for rent, so I decided to do some research. When I went to visit the space, the landlord told me there were 5 other people interested. I immediately said, “I feel terrible I’ve wasted your time! I don’t even have a business plan or anything!” It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say I kept apologizing and maybe even bowed as I left. The next morning the landlord called and said, “We want you”, to which I responded, “For what?”. They said, “To rent the space. This is a family-owned building, and we like your personality and think you’d fit right in.” (Cue the long pause from me). My husband had to come over to check on me, probably because my face was pale, and I was stuttering. I was stunned, scared, excited, unsure, (trying not to throw up), but I said “Ok!” So, Room Tonic the shop, as I said earlier, was sort of started by the lovely Fagone family believing in me and granting me space. My goal then was to bring color back! I love the Chinoiserie style because it’s classic, funky, and quintessentially Marblehead. Our sea captains here would bring back Chinese exports to show their prominence, and nothing looks better than some beautiful Chinoiserie pieces in our Marblehead historical homes. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support of Marbleheaders and it thrills me to my core when I hear customers say, “I love everything here!”
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? A friend who owns his own business told me, “Don’t let the business own you, make sure you own the business”. It’s so easy to let the business run your life. That advice helped me make the decision to be open Wednesday – Saturday to leave time for my family life and my design clients. It’s just me at the shop, so there needs to be balance.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? Hands down, my favorite spot is Castle Rock. I moved to Marblehead because my, now, husband lived here. We wanted to get married at Castle Rock, but our wedding day turned out to be an unexpectedly cold and rainy day in September, so we moved all the boxes in the home we just bought and got married in our living room. I like to take my walks to Castle Rock whenever possible. I joke that it’s my church.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? People are always surprised to learn that I was a working actor in NYC for 25 years before moving to Marblehead. In the beginning of my career, I was building and designing theatrical sets by day and performing in shows or comedy clubs by night. Soon I was working solely as an actor in television and would take on Room Tonic design clients if time allowed. Later in my career television and design were blended. My designs were on HGTV and later I was Ty Pennington’s design coordinator for one of his shows before moving to New England. It’s fun when people come into the shop and say, “You look familiar”. I just say “I have a lot of doppelgangers” rather than tell them they’ve probably seen me on TV.
Owner: Susan Bott firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us about TROVE and why you opened the store. I had a long and satisfying career in architecture in my home city of Philadelphia but have always had a passion for art and human-created objects. For me, these items evoke time and place, history, culture, craft, and of course, beauty. I wanted to create a space to share unique and curated pieces somewhere on the east coast. Originally, I thought that place might be Maine, but I couldn’t find a space that fit my needs. A friend recommended I look at the North Shore of Massachusetts. That’s when I found Marblehead, loved it, and bought the building at 96 Washington Street. I spent quite a bit of time renovating the space, then opened TROVE at the end of 2022. In my store, you can buy antiques and garden accents, including beautiful furniture, one-of-a-kind objects, paintings, original art posters, and decorative collectibles.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? The best piece of business advice I received is to follow my own instincts and stay the course with my vision.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead? Marblehead is the perfect combination of both natural and man-made beauty. As a very visually oriented man, I am drawn to the varied pleasures of seeing hidden paths and corners, beaches and coves, and big view vantage points and historic structures with their gardens.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? Folks definitely seem surprised to learn that TROVE is my first such endeavor; that I didn’t move the store from elsewhere and have in fact been practicing architecture all my life until now!
For More Information:
TROVE, Owner Jack Davidson 781-990-1997
96 Washington Street, Marblehead
Tell us about Patsy Kane | Nautical and why you started it. Patsy Kane | Nautical is a Marblehead based boutique jewelry design and manufacturing company. Our focus is on classic maritime inspired pieces in a variety of metals and materials. As a New England based company, we try to ensure that the majority of our products are produced in New England. Begun as a creative endeavor, our designs are now offered through our website and in fine retail settings. We partner with the NortheastArc on our I Love You Bracelet and Bosun Bracelets.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? It’s a toss-up: “If you’re talking, you aren’t listening” and/or “Do what you’re best at and hire for the tasks you aren’t”.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? I have two favorite spots in Marblehead. I love to be tucked away inside our circa 1900 renovated beach cottage or out on our boat.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I originally wanted to be a veterinarian (inspired by All Things Great and Small) and went to Ag school for a semester.
For More Information:
Patsy Kane | Nautical
Owner: Patsy Kane Wiswell
Patsy@patsykane.com or 617-834-0818
Tell us about Living Swell and why you started it. In 2015 I decided to open a design studio/boutique in Marblehead as an extension of my interior design business. I wanted to create a place where people would be inspired by my unique design style and discover an extraordinary selection of hand chosen curated collections. The boutique, Living Swell, embodies a timeless coastal vibe, while always being on the forefront of style. Our interior design services include kitchen and bath design, home renovation, project management, yacht design, bespoke window treatments, upholstery and products, interior decoration and design.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? Some of the best advice I’ve ever received during my career include “design with intent”,” trust your instincts” and “own your style”.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? My favorite spot has always been the north side of Fort Sewall, looking out over the water to Beverly and Manchester.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? People might be surprised to learn that when a good song comes on at Living Swell, we break out into total dance mode.
Tell us about All Chic At 152. All Chic At 152 is a boutique with clothing from the USA, Canada, and Europe. We sell trendy and affordable clothing and accessories for women. You’ll find our store in downtown Marblehead at 152 Washington Street. One of my favorite things to do is shop for unique pieces for my customers/clients. We have new merchandise arriving daily and I love every minute of it!
What made you decide to open your store? I started in business in 1992 with my first store Rags to Riches which I owned for many years before it was destroyed alongside my shoe store Funky Feet, and many other businesses, in the devastating fire on School Street on February 19, 2003. Shortly after the fire, I went into real estate but within about a year, I decided to reopen Rags to Riches on Pleasant Street. When I began heading in the direction of selling new clothing, I moved my store to 41 Atlantic Avenue. Not long after that, I opened All Chic Boutique and moved down the street. After many years at that location, we relocated to Florida, where I continued to sell real estate. When I returned to Marblehead, an overwhelming number of people requested that I reopen. So, in October 2021, I opened All Chic At 152 and I am so happy I did!
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? My parents always told me, “If you work hard, you will be rewarded.” I can truly say they were right.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? My favorite spot in Marblehead is Washington Street. The foot traffic is awesome, and I love all the customers and their pets who pop in to do some shopping and visit with me.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? Something some people may be surprised to know about me was I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and I love to get my hands dirty in my garden.
For More Information:
All Chic At 152
Owner/Buyer: Siobhan Phelan
152 Washington St in Marblehead www.allchicat152.com
Tell us about Creature Comforts & Pawsitively Marblehead. Creature Comforts & Pawsitively Marblehead (CCPAWS) are businesses that are centered around your pets! Creature Comforts is our pet service side of the business, which includes our doggy daycare (and adorable dog buses!), dog walking and in-home pet care services – where we’ve cared for everything from cats to bearded dragons to chickens!
Pawsitively Marblehead is our boutique shop, located on Atlantic Ave, that features toys, accessories, and gifts for the pets and pet lovers in your life! We focus on carrying quality, local brands that you wouldn’t typically find in larger chain pet stores and we love collaborating with other local businesses to create unique pet products.
Both businesses were started by Brooks and Ned Williams over 20 years ago, and James and I happily took over the reins (or leashes in this case!) from them in 2019. As an employee of theirs for 7 years before this transition, I knew many aspects of the business already, but it has certainly been quite a learning experience to be on the owner’s side of things now. We love working directly with the animals we take care of, as well as with our customers and clients to figure out the best products to help enrich the lives of their pets…and getting to drive a dog bus now and then isn’t a bad way to spend the day either!
What is the best piece of business advice you ever received? The most important piece of business knowledge that I’ve received is how important it is to have reliable staff – they truly are the core of our business and we wouldn’t be able to do what we did without them. When dealing with people’s pets, it really is like dealing with a member of their family, so being able to trust and rely on our staff is critical. This was especially important when James and I welcomed our son Everett last year – we relied heavily on our manager Amy and the rest of our staff to hold down the fort as we adapted to life as first time parents. We are so thankful for our awesome team and their never-ending enthusiasm for the animals we care for!
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead? James and I can both say hands down that our favorite spot in Marblehead is Chandler Hovey Park. We just love everything about the lighthouse, and actually have quite the collection of different photos, paintings, and trinkets of it around our house … so much so, that we often joke that we live in the Marblehead Museum! I grew up sailing from Marblehead along the Maine coast and have always appreciated how different and unique our lighthouse is compared to the traditional white lighthouses you see in most places.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? You may already know that prior to owning CCPAWS, I worked at the New England Aquarium for 10 years in both the Rescue & Rehab Department and the Marine Mammal Training Department, but what you may not know is that part of my job in the Rescue Department was driving an ambulance (yes, an actual medical ambulance!) that we had outfitted to respond to animals including sea turtles, seals, and stranded dolphins and whales. And I have to say, driving a dog bus is actually easier…go figure!