Business boom: Chestnut Street area fills up with storefronts offering food, fashion
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU New Hampshire Union Leader
Livia and Pedro Rodrigues are preparing to open Summer Pizza on Hanover Street in Manchester. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
MANCHESTER — A new pizza place, a men’s clothing store and a bakery are just the latest businesses helping to spark a resurgence of sorts along a two-block stretch along and near Chestnut Street.
Just off Chestnut Street, Summer Pizza at 119 Hanover St., plans to open this month, offering square-shaped pizzas and homemade cannoli.
“We were going there (Manchester) a lot before we took the store to downtown and really like the city,” said Livia Rodrigues, whose husband, Pedro, owns the business. “We liked the area, and then we found a place that was vacant.”
The pizza shop is moving into the former Manchester Diner, which sat vacant for years. It will only offer takeout.
Less than a block north, Joseph Charles Menswear plans to open this week at 412 Chestnut St.
And walk another block and a sign posted on another storefront indicated Dulces Bakery will open at 426 Chestnut St., near Amherst Street.
“The Hanover Street corridor has been one of the hottest areas of the city over the year or so in terms of new development and business activity,” said Mike Skelton, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
“Two major housing redevelopment projects — 875 Elm and The Flats at Hanover Commons — over the past year have added high-quality housing options that have increased foot traffic and density, and brought more energy and vibrancy to the Hanover Street corridor,” Skelton said.
Steve Clutter, owner of the Crown Tavern at the corner of Hanover and Chestnut streets, said he thinks tenants of 875 Elm St. will help area businesses.
“Now, you’ve got 100 more people walking around the streets,” he said. “To me, it’s all about the foot traffic.”
Clutter, who also owns the nearby Hanover Street Chophouse, said he adds more staff on at The Crown when there are events at the nearby SNHU Arena and the Palace Theatre.
Clutter welcomed Summer Pizza and said he didn’t start The Crown to compete against other eateries.
“I came in to enhance the neighborhood and make it a little bit brighter,” Clutter said.
Joseph Baroody, owner of the menswear store, said he liked the store size of 700 square feet and that it was near the Palace and restaurants that drew people walking the area.
“You get a different clientele walking around there at night with the restaurants,” Baroody said. “That’s a very active corner.”
Baroody said he wanted to create a men’s shop of the same name that he operated at 1239 Elm St. from 1971 to 1974.
He plans to sell only items made in the United States.
Clutter said The Crown is doing better than expectations. He said more restaurants bring more people to the area. He also said two new planned hotels — one across from the arena and a second in the Millyard — will mean more visitors.
“Any traffic for the most part is good traffic,” he said.