Uptown Browsery opens its doors in Albion
ALBION – The Uptown Browsery opened today in downtown Albion with 12 vendors selling antiques, vintage collectibles, birdfeeders, old tools and other itmes.
“It’s eclectic,” said Maureen Bennett, one of the vendors and president of the group, which will continue to operate the Downtown Browsery on East Bank Street, where it has been for eight years.
That site became too crowded for more vendors. Bennett put the word out to see if there was interest in a second location, and the vendors responded. The second site is on Main Street, fulfilling a goal of Bennett’s to be on Albion’s main thoroughfare in the downtown.
The site at 118 North Main Street, a former coffee shop, also has 36 parking spaces behind the building plus a back door entrance. The site also sells coffee and will have vendors taking turns in the kitchen, selling baked goods.
Kevin Lake, the former director of the Chamber of Commerce, is heading the effort to sell coffee and baked goods. He hopes to expand that to soups and sandwiches.
He likes the model at the Browsery, where vendors share space and time in running the shop. He wants to use that concept for the baked goods and kitchen.
The Uptown Browsery is next to Knight’s Pride, a custom furniture store. Uptown is also a short walk from other businesses.
“We’re trying to become a destination with similar stores,” Lake said. “This will create more traffic, and traffic creates traffic.”
The new store had its soft opening today and will have a grand opening on March 1. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays and will add Sunday hours in the summer. The site also has tourism information about the area.
Lucy and Scott Sackett of Batavia have been vendors in the Browsery for seven years. They said isn’t a site like it in Batavia. The sell vintage collectibles, and also work to have items for men, such as decoys, fishing tackle, old tools, rods and reels.
Mr. Sackett is happy to be in downtown Albion in the bottom floor of the Pratt Opera House building. Sackett said the chain stores drive a lot of commerce out of the historic downtowns.
“It’s nice to repurpose these older buildings,” he said.
The Uptown Browsery is open until 5 p.m. today.