- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Two of Old Town’s retail anchors, bijoubel Boutique (126 Main Street), and its sister store, Joan Vass Off-Broadway (124 Main Street), will be moving later this month – although not very far. The popular apparel and accessory shops are relocating just a few doors down.
Melissa Hamilton, the owner of both boutiques has purchased the historic bungalow style cottage at 136 Main Street. Built in the 1890s, the building has been home to many families through the years, including the Angelone family, Sicilian immigrants.
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Hamilton is moving bijoubel into the shop side of 136 Main and will use the apartment side as a vacation rental. Off the large covered porch in back, a studio space will become the new home for the Joan Vass shop.
Hamilton says she’s been shopping for a permanent shop location to purchase since she began her business seven years ago.
“I knew if I was going to stay in business, buying would be an investment for my future,” she says.
Over the Christmas holidays, Hamilton needed a ladder to hang Christmas decorations and went next door to 136 Main to borrow from her neighbors. The casual conversation turned serious when she discovered the building was still for sale. Hamilton and her husband made an offer and closed the sale in the end of February.
The shop area at 136 Main is 1100 square feet – the same amount bijoubel currently occupies. The move will begin right after the March 9th Second Saturday Artwalk and be complete by the end of March. Hamilton doesn’t plan on any down time whatsoever.
Hamilton expects the central Old Town location of the building and its history to keep the vacation rental filled. Listed as the Angelone House on VRBO, reservations can be made starting in the middle of May.
“Buying the cottage is the right move for me and my husband,” says Hamilton. “With the growth the town is having, it’s a prime time to have a business here. We’re very excited about the Bay’s future. I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”