Although the business world continues to be in turmoil, with labor supply plagued by the pandemic, customer demand and supply chains struggling, and America’s rising interest rates squeezing investment, the Concord area saw a good share of commercial development in 2022. Here are some highlights.
One of the biggest business news in the region was the announcement by Bow-based commercial fryer maker Pitco that it would build a 365,000 sq ft facility – about three-quarters the size of Steeplegate Mall – on Manchester Road near the border. of Pembroke.
The plant, located at 15 Integra Drive, will combine Pitco’s three existing locations in Bow, Concord and Pembroke into a complex with offices, manufacturing space and warehouses where fryers, water heaters and other restaurant equipment will be built. About 400 jobs will be placed there.
While it’s a win for Concord, it’s a loss for Bow and Pembroke. Those towns received property tax revenue from Pitco’s current operations — $145,000 a year for Pembroke, $40,000 for Bow — that will be sharply curtailed once the company moves.
Another big win for Concord is the return of Grappone Mazda, which will be relocated from the Grappone dealership along with the I-93/I-89 interchange in Bow to a freestanding location on Manchester Street. Construction has begun on the site, which sold Jeeps and Pontiacs under the Grappone name in the 1980s and most recently was a wholesale location.
The move is being made because there is no room on Grappone’s homepage for expansion. Mazda dealerships across the country are expanding and improving showrooms as the company works to differentiate itself in the U.S. market.
2022 also saw a development that was more than a dozen years in the making: The long-awaited opening of a supermarket in Penacook.
Early plans to put a supermarket near I-93 Exit 17 were scuttled when the city imposed restrictions on the size of the lot in 2008 so it wouldn’t compete with efforts to lure a supermarket to downtown Penacook. After those plans fell through – apartments were built on the former tannery site, once attached for a shop – the size limits were lifted and development plans went ahead.
The Market Basket finally opened in September. Also open in the Merchant’s Way development is an independent state liquor store, a home goods store, a Wendy’s and several Tesla electric car chargers. The Mobil gas station with Dunkin’ Donuts remains open.
Concord developer Steve Duprey had two big stories this year.
One is the ongoing evolution of the large former Lincoln Financial property off Penacook Road. The state of New Hampshire has a $70 million deal to lease office space for 20 years as the new home of the Justice Department, which includes the attorney general’s office. The Department of Justice building at 33 Capitol Street, near the State House, will be demolished to make way for a new legislative parking garage.
Second, construction will soon begin on a five-story commercial building between the Concord Food Co-op and the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Main Street, with a restaurant, offices and an event space. An 1854 Victorian house on the site is set to be demolished after efforts to relocate it failed.
In Bow, the massive DHL distribution center, a 244,000-square-foot warehouse — more than four football fields — that holds all the alcohol sold at the state’s 67 liquor stores, will be expanded by 27,235 square feet to accommodate added inventory.
LEF Farms in Loudon will expand its hydroelectric greenhouse from 1 acre to 14 acres, following its acquisition by New York-based BrightFarms. The work will be on the existing Route 106 site.
One business development that’s hard to miss in downtown Concord is the Capital Mall expansion on Storrs Street. After years of looking the same, this 60-year-old square is getting a new building in the parking lot that will hold a casual restaurant, a drive-thru Starbucks and 6,000 square feet of retail space.
And in terms of reader response per square foot of development, perhaps none of that equals the news that Popeye’s will soon open one of its fried chicken restaurants on Loudon Road, a first for Concord. It will be next to the Harbor Freight store, which is located in the former Toys R Us location.
Not all business news was good in 2022, of course. A number of longtime businesses closed their doors.
For longtime Concord residents, perhaps the saddest news was the closing of Concord Photo Service on North Main Street, a business that dates back in various forms to 1904, including decades as Concord Camera.
Owner Michael St. Germain, who has worked or owned the business for 52 years, retired and was unable to find a buyer. He said that despite how digital photography replaced the work of film development and photo printing, business was still pretty good. “I was intercepted. … I don’t want to be standing behind the counter when I drop dead,” he told her Monitor in May.
In August, the area saw a sadly familiar story play out not once, but twice: Warner Pharmacy closed in August after 10 years in business, and Penacook Pharmacy closed in April after 53 years. They follow a trend of independent pharmacies being unable to compete with chains like Walgreens and CVS, in part because of the systems by which pharmacies buy patients and get paid known as pharmacy benefit managers.
Veanos Italian Kitchen on Manchester Street closed in April, to the dismay of its loyal customers, as part of redevelopment plans. But owner George Georgopolis moved to Beanie’s Bar and Grill at the intersection of 129th and 106th streets in Loudon, run by his son, Nasi.
WOW Fried Chicken on Pleasant Street has closed after seven years of serving an all-American meal with Middle Eastern flavors, with owner Maher Abbas turning it into a cigar lounge — a business that requires less hard work to operate. found and less affected by variable costs.
On a happier note, downtown Concord saw a slew of new retail openings.
Several restaurants were among them, including New Hampshire Pizza Co. on Main Street, opened by the owner of three Dos Amigos restaurants; EatXactly Cakes, processing special cakes at Shqiponja Square 5; and The Bean & Bakery, formerly White Mountain Gourmet Coffee on Pleasant Street.
Concord got its third brewery in 2022 when Feathered Friend Brewing opened on South Main Street.
Since people don’t live by food alone, there’s also Makers on Main, which features up to 40 vendors selling hand-crafted and handmade products. They moved into the space previously occupied by Simply Birkenstock, which took over the storefront vacated by Concord Photo Service.
And we can’t talk about new businesses without mentioning the most eye-catching of all: Teatotaller, the LGBTQ-friendly coffee shop that decked out its main Main Street facade with enough hot pink paint to adorn an entire battalion of lawn flamingos.
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