Women join forces to give downtown its first new retail business in a year
Downtown Port Washington has something to celebrate this holiday season — the opening of a new retail store, the first to open its doors in more than a year.
Pear and Simple, which will feature everything from unique home goods and gifts to baby items and women’s accessories, is expected to open at 314 N. Franklin St., the former site of Port Antiques, during the first week of December.
Opening the store are Melissa Suddendorf, her mother Rose Morgan — who co-owned the j.j. morgan children’s store in downtown years ago — and sister-in-law Jaime Morgan, who will manage the shop.
The women have been thinking about opening a shop downtown for quite some time, and decided now was the right time to take the plunge, Suddendorf said.
“I’m fairly passionate about downtown and what needs to be done,” she said.
Her mother added, “When the antique shop left, we thought, ‘What a wonderful opportunity there is here.’ We’ve all been here a long time. We make Port Washington our home and want to be part of it.”
The building is owned by Fine Line Carpentry, a business owned in part by Suddendorf and her husband Nick.
Pear and Simple will feature a wide variety of goods, including home decor, women’s accessories, baby items, children’s gifts, seasonal pieces and Port Washington-related goods.
“A lot of girlfriend gifts,” Jaime Morgan said.
Even in good economic times, news of a new store opening is something to celebrate, but the fact that this group of women is making the investment in downtown during tough times makes it even more
“It is terrific that they are investing in downtown,” said Sara Grover, executive director of the Port Washington Main Street program. “They have experience, they know downtown and they’ve also been patrons of downtown and have seen what’s missing there.
“With their creativity, networking, experience, a nice blend of products and a great location, I think they’ve got it all going for them.”
City Administrator Mark Grams said the fact the women are local will only help the store.
“Local ownership will help draw local people there,” he said. “People know them and have trust in them.”
The fact they are opening a store at the beginning of winter — typically the toughest time for retail establishments — is also notable.
“It would be great to have them in place and open for Christmas on the Corners (Dec. 4),” Grover said. “By opening in December, they’ll get a lot of exposure, a lot of foot traffic, from holiday shoppers.”
That exposure will likely bring people back to the store after the holidays, she said.
The winter lull will also allow the shop time to tweak things before the summer tourist season begins, Grover noted.
“We’re excited that we’ll be established by Kiss of Indulgence (on March 8),” Rose Morgan said.
To help deal with the winter doldrums, the women said they plan a number of special events at the shop. Many will be demonstrations that showcase local women and their talents, Suddendorf said.
“You can learn something about someone who can tell you how to do the things we do all the time, but better and cooler,” she said.
The name Pear and Simple, they said, is a unique combination of words that evokes a warm, pure and simple image.
“I think it makes you think of home,” Rose Morgan said.
The women said they hope to draw shoppers to the north end of downtown, where there hasn’t been a
strong anchor shop since Christmas in Port closed its doors, and to complement existing stores such as Zing! and Wardrobe Safari.
They also hope to be an inspiration to others considering retail ventures, they said.
The store is expected to be open into the evening hours most days of the week, the women said.
“Even if you work in Port, you don’t always have the time during the day to shop,” Rose Morgan said. “We want to be available to shoppers when they are available.”
RENOVATIONS ARE continuing in the former Port Antiques storefront, where (from left) Melissa Suddendorf, Rose Morgan and Jaime Morgan will be opening their shop, Pear and Simple, the first week of December. The store — the first retail business to open on Franklin Street in more than a year — will feature a wide variety of seasonal products, home goods, baby and children’s items, women’s accessories and items related to Port Washington. Photo by Sam Arendt