Any seasoned commercial realtor would tell you that location means everything when it comes to opening a business.

Maybe that’s why 201 Main St. at West Pearl is the favorite spot for building the city’s future performing arts center. The location is smack-dab in the middle of busy downtown.

Joan Stylianos' Heart of Nashua column sig

Think about Alec’s Shoes and, before that, the former Miller’s Department Store that once occupied the space. These iconic shops were household names to Nashuans who frequented the heart of the city. Both retail anchors helped sustain the downtown climate for decades, along with other hardworking proprietors of longtime businesses here.

It would appear that the performing arts center that’s under construction (to open mid-2022) can’t miss if we look back at the history of this location.

Main at West Pearl was also once home to the Sunlight Pharmacy, the Central Fruit Store (1940s), a barbershop and a clothing store. These operations were on the Main Street side.

Central Fruit’s name was later changed to Central Variety, and the Boston and Maine Transportation Co. and a bus stop were also located there, according to a Nashua city directory.

Over the years, multiple businesses sprang from the block before Miller’s moved in, including a paint store.

On the West Pearl Street side of the downtown corner stood a laundry establishment known as Som Sing in the 1930s. Adjacent to that was Nashua’s largest pool room, which was formerly located in what later became a main section of Miller’s. Playing pool was a big deal in those days, and the site was crowded in the evenings and sometimes hosted exhibition matches with professional billiards players, according to an old Telegraph column written by my late editor father, John.

Another “million-dollar location” no matter what decade you’re in is 7 Daniel Webster Highway at Robinson Road.

Seriously, folks, you can’t get better visibility than this spot in the city’s south end.

Hayward’s Ice Cream needs little introduction since the family-owned eatery opened its windows to customers on June 15, 1940.

Hayward’s even moved its building back almost 100 feet in 1942 to accommodate more parking.

Today, the iconic ice cream stand features homemade flavors like Salty Caramel Oreo to Raspberry Cheesecake Truffle to frozen yogurt, soft serve, sherbet and more.

Hayward’s Ice Cream also gives back to its community, including at “Nashua PAL ConeWithACop,” an event for the entire family.

Join the Nashua Police Department at Hayward’s Ice Cream in Nashua on Saturday, May 22, from noon to 3 p.m.

Children 12 and under will get a delicious scoop of ice cream provided by the Nashua Police Patrolman’s Charity and Hayward’s. For a small donation, you can dunk these volunteers in the dunk tank: Nashua Police Chief Mike Carignan, Nashua Fire-Rescue Assistant Chief Mike Buxton, and AMR Regional Director Chris Stawasz.

Hayward’s is also donating 20% of its proceeds from that time to Nashua PAL. Make sure to mention PAL when you order.

Joan Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column appears every other Thursday. She can be reached at

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