November 28, 2021

Two Major Retailers Closing on Main Street in Essex

Left Bank Gallery: CLOSED

Two major retailers, the Left Bank Gallery and The Peddler, are closing their doors on Main Street in Essex. The Left Bank Gallery, which has been leasing 5,000 square foot space has already been vacated.

The Paul brothers, who own the Griswold Inn in Essex, among other properties, own the space on which the Gallery once stood.

The Peddler retires

The second Main Street property shutting its doors is The Peddler, a fixture in Essex since 1964. The current owner of the store, who has owned the business for the past 21 years, is Patricia Stepanski, an Essex resident.

Stepanski says that she will keep her store open through this summer, but will close in the fall. Presently, she is offering 25% off the original price on all merchandize. There are big signs in the windows proclaiming the “Retirement Sale.”

Over the years Stepanski’s business plan has been “to cater to those who live in the area” as well as tourists. Tourists frequently want something “characteristic of New England, such as hand-made pottery and hand-blown glass,” she said.  

The retiring owner also said that she “appreciated everybody’s past patronage and will miss being a part of the village of Essex.” As for closing she said, “It was time.” She added, “The traffic was way down, attributable to the fact that people are not travelling that much.”

Peddler's Stepanski

Also, she blamed a loss of business, “due to the fact that there are more offices in town now, rather than retail spaces.” By “offices” she said she meant “real estate offices.” Presently, there are five real estate offices on Main Street in Essex: Coldwell Banker, William Pitt-Sotheby’s, Prudential, the Mitchel Agency and Page Taft.

“Six or seven years ago, we had three times as many retail spaces,” she said. “It is a crime as to what happened.” She found particularly troubling the departure of the Clipper Ship Book Store, and more recently Essex Books.

She also said that Essex was not getting as many tour buses as it once did, and she blamed that on the national economy.