There's Much to Love on Charles Street

But, not everyone feels that way.

Picturesque, cobble-stoned Charles Street is home to bakeries, boutiques, nail salons, and gift shops — the strip has something for almost everyone. Except, perhaps, for designer Sara Campbell, who’s closing her storefront there this month.

“There is no way to survive doing commerce in that neighborhood,” Campbell told Beacon Hill Patch, in an article that ran Monday. She cited “ruthless” parking enforcement officers and high rent among the causes of her Beacon Hill demise. (Campbell who owns shops in the South End, Wellesley, Concord, and Hingham, is also opening a location outside Chicago, according to the story.)

I’m a sales associate at a small boutique on the drag, and as someone who lives and works in the part of Beacon Hill in question, I disagree. Charles Street is roaring. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Campbell calls Charles Street a “rambling of assorted stuff” — but buyer and manager of Moxie, Kristen Caldon, says that’s just part of the charm. “Everything here is less mainstream. There are all different designers and brands that you can’t find in a department store.” And it’s true. Charles Street is Newbury without the commercialization.

Susan Corcoran, co-owner of gift shop Black Ink, has been on Charles Street for 18 years. Her business has grown and she says the high rent pays off in the long run. “People come here because these stores are idiosyncratic, they are owner-operated. It’s a good thing,” she adds.

The portrait painted by Cambpell is a mischaracterization. Of course we’re sad to see her store go, but with loads of exceptional boutiques in this neighborhood-shopping street, we’ll be back—and often.

— Madeleine Coleman

(Photo by Allie_Caulfield, via Flickr)