By Kirstan Knowlton
BERLIN — Since the New Year, Main Street in downtown Berlin has seen many changes. From store owners retiring to new shops opening, the landscape of Berlin’s downtown is starting to take on a new life.
If you were to compare downtown Main Street to even just five years ago, it would look like quite different than it does today.
Businesses like Morin Shoes, David Lee Mountain, Rumorz, Skinplicity and 151 Main Street Grill (formerly known as T-Birds) are no longer there, but several new businesses have come in to take their place.
New names like The Sticks, Anarchy Vapors and Body Warehouse have opened in place of businesses that recently closed their doors, bringing in a fresh take on Berlin’s downtown.
Not too long ago, after the owners of David Lee Mountain retired, Kendall Strahan and his wife Lane bought the building with plans of opening a soulful cafe and lounge called “The Sticks.”
With an opening date planned for Dec. 31, The Sticks will feature a jazz-style coffee house with lounge and bistro-style food with a southern twist.
When asked what drew them to the area, Kendall explained that he wanted to find a place where he could raise his family.
“We wanted to find a place to raise our kids in an environment where they are not judged by the color of their skin, but by who they are as a person,” said Kendall in an email.
Also new to the downtown area, Anarchy Vapors, owned by Adam Brisebois, relocated his shop from Gorham to Berlin’s Main Street in April.
Now located at 97 Main St., between Middle Earth and the American Legion, Anarchy Vapors carries personal vaping units, e-liquids, along with a variety of vaping accessories. They also offer internet cafe services, computer repair, general electronics repair, print/fax and lounge activities like pool, darts and gaming.
Brisebois said that they were drawn to the area because of the real-estate prices, and after visiting, they knew they had found their new home.
Anarchy Vapors is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information about his business call (603) 752-5332 or go online to www.anarchyvapors.com.
Along with soulful food, music, vaping accessories and office services, the Throneberry-Perkins family is taking their love of fitness and healthy living to Berlin’s downtown.
Bringing with them more than 20 years of experience, Aaron Throneberry-Perkins and his wife Pamela opened ProBody Warehouse just over two months ago at 83 Main St., in Berlin at the former location of Rumorz Boutique.
Selling everything from supplements to vitamins, and even offering red-light therapy, Aaron and his wife also offer their expert advice free of charge to anyone looking to improve the physical and mental wellbeing.
Originally from Colorado Springs, Aaron and his family moved to the area in 2015. They were drawn to the North Country by the abundance of outdoor activities, and with the availability of storefront space on Main Street, he knew it would be a good fit.
ProBody Warehouse is open Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. ProBody Warehouse is open by appointment on the weekends.
Berlin’s downtown wouldn’t be complete without adding a little bit of artistic creativity. Shortly before rounding the corner to Main Street, a new creative space, Assemble will celebrate its grand opening on Sept. 8.
Run by local artisans Maria Neal with the Clay Studio, Heather Piche with a Glass Studio, Laura Jamison with a Metals and Media Studio and Gary Coulombe with his Wood Studio, this space will also serve as a place for community events, classes and workshops.
Located at 38 Glen Ave., in Berlin above Aubuchon Hardware Store, Assemble recently painted a community mural just before the art park.
For more information follow the artisans' group on Facebook at Assemble: A creative space to make, design, experiment, or collaborate.
With all of these changes, it can feel like the old downtown that everyone knew and loved is gone, but with change can come new opportunities.
New opportunities for business owners to help revitalize Berlin’s downtown, and new opportunities for North Country residents to support local merchants.
For more information about Berlin’s Main Street, visit www.berlinmainstreetnh.com