Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 26, 2018
New retail space in Stonington offers opportunity for local businesses
Two retail spaces and an apartment are available to rent at the newly renovated building on Thurlow’s Hill Road.
by Tina Oddleifson
A renovated building in Stonington is offering entrepreneurs the chance to set up small retail spaces in town at an affordable rate. Located at the corner of Seabreeze Avenue and Thurlow’s Hill Road, the building was purchased at the end of 2016 by Colie O’Donnell, owner of Spruce Island.
O’Donnell originally bought the property because the parking area allows him to use his amphibious boat to load people traveling out to his rental property on Spruce Island. Using the parking area keeps him from causing congestion at Colwell Ramp, the public boat launch in town.
Three separate commercial spaces are now located on the main floor of the building, one of which is occupied by Old Quarry Ocean Adventures as a satellite location for its Oceanville-based business. The upper floor has two apartments, where tenants have the opportunity to live above their business. The renovations “were intended to make the best of the space and location close to downtown,” says O’Donnell.
The hope is to eventually attract an eat-in café that serves simple and healthy soups and meals for the community. The third space is the largest and could be good for many types of businesses, says O’Donnell. “There is plenty of seating in the breezeway area for patrons, Wi-Fi is available, and unlike most places in downtown, you can get a cell signal,” he said. The building offers restrooms for patrons, and plenty of off-street parking.
O’Donnell has named the building “Merchants Row” after the waterway south of Stonington Harbor and the Deer Island Thorofare. It is also descriptive of the layout of the three retail spaces that are spread along a hallway in the building. He is hoping that the parking area could also add needed spaces to help alleviate the parking problem in Stonington. “I am open to exploring any ideas about how to accomplish this, while at the same time trying to earn a little toward the money I have invested in it,” he said.
O’Donnell recognizes that a seasonal economy presents challenges to many small business owners and says he is flexible on the rent and terms for the spaces. “My main interest is to find people who have good ideas, who have the energy to pursue them, and the ability to cover the cost of customizing the spaces to their particular needs, he said.