The NDDC Board’s most recent monthly business visit was to the Rare Pair. With NDDC Board member Mark Quinnell and Rare Pair Owner Krin Finger, it was like Old Times at Northfield High.
Krin would seem to be pretty happy with Northfield. She grew up here, married her high school sweetheart (first date was at The Grand when it was movie theater), is raising a family here, and has owned and operated the Rare Pair for twenty years.
The Rare Pair is widely recognized as a leader of Northfield’s retail community. The stored has been expanded by 80% during Krin’s ownership. She would consider expanding more if the space and the rent were right. It would also have to be something fun, Krin added.
Krin highlighted a couple of things that make Northfield work for her business. She noted the customers’ loyalty to her store and the citizens’ loyalty to the downtown (they look for it first in town) are the keys to success for main street businesses.
She also talked about the many attractions of downtown, including the historic buildings, the scenic river, the post office, the public library, and the grocery stores. Krin noted that the loss of the post office would be a significant blow to foot traffic in downtown.
As for concerns, Krin cited the limited number of stores with late hours, the challenges of occupying historic buildings, and rising commercial property taxes. She said that when she was working with her landlord to renew her lease, and was surprised at the rent increase, her landlord showed her his costs. The property taxes were driving up the operating expense for her business.
When asked how the NDDC could better serve her, Krin said she is pleased with the organization’s performance. She believes that if you feel your voice is heard, then the organization is doing its job. She says if you don’t speak up, then you can’t complain about things.
Krin did say that she would like to see the NDDC, and other groups in town, encourage local businesses to increase their presence on the internet. She says that it has been an on-going learning experience, and process of improvement, for the Rare Pair, but that all retailers need to get in the game. Each additional business on the ‘net increases the town’s visibility on the web.
Finally, Krin said that although she can rarely attend the Downtown Forums (her business and family keep her running) she appreciates the summaries on our website. She’d really like one or two social mixers added to the annual schedule of gatherings. Just getting together, without agenda, to blow off some steam, would be great.