Over the past decade and a half, we have been so lucky to have had numerous opportunities for expansion. We now have 13 stores spread over New England, the midwest, Florida, and Virginia and we continue to plan further expansion. As we grow, we pick and choose each location very carefully. We mainly look for a strong community filled with friendly and caring people, but each location has its own unique characteristics and backstory. Each store has its own identity and holds an important piece to the grand picture of Sara Campbell. We wanted to give you all a little glimpse into how this whole thing started and how we got to where we are today. Enjoy!
First stop: New England.
Where it all started...
We originally moved into the South End from Cambridge in 1985 to an old shoe factory on Waltham Street. We had two studios with a connecting door. Two years later, we had a little office across the hall. As we continued to expand, we gradually took over an even larger space that had been renovated by a graphics company.
However, parking was tough, the space was not efficient, and we had lived through too many surrounding renovations in the building. There was way too much dust and too many animals. It was time to move.
On Good Friday afternoon in 2002, I had gone for a walk, and was lead to a beautiful building around the corner from the Cathedral, with a giant FOR LEASE sign. In September, Sara Campbell LTD had a new corporate headquarters...46 Plympton Street. We took two floors, and had the bright idea of converting our warehouse space into a store front, given the big window we now had. Hence, we opened our first company store...and the show began! It was such fun having so many new friends and customers find us over on little Plympton Street, all by word of mouth.
And then came Wellesley...
In 2009 we got the opportunity to use an open space in Wellesley for a fundraiser. We decided, hey, why not use this opportunity to test the waters for further expansion? We planned to stay in the Wellesley location for two weeks...and, well, you know how the story ends! The test was an exteme success! We were fortunate enough to have a strong connection with lots of people within the Wellesley community since my girls were attending Dana Hall just down the road. It was the perfect first step in our expansion because it was close enough to Boston that we could easily vistit the store everyday.
Sprinkle in some seasonals...
on to Newport and Nantucket!
Next it was time to try a new experiment: seasonal stores. Our store locations in both Newport and Nantucket were off the beaten path but the experiment turned out to be a success. Newport and ACK played a crutial role in our expansion because they allowed us to form connections with people from all over, which aided our first big step out of New England.
Next stop: Concord
The next town we fell in love with was Concord. Concord was, and still is, the perfect model. The space isn't too big, isn't too small, and has a strong sense of town community. Being a part of the neighborhood is an important role in each of our locations because that is the heart and soul of the Sara Campbell brand.
Making our way down the coast...
Hingham here we come!
I love Hingham! It is the perfect New England little village. Having grown up in Southern California, I was enamored with its charm, architecture and true New England lifestyle right on the water. I spent many a day driving to Hingham when I was a vendor serving Talbots, so I had many connections and friends from the South Shore. Hingham was a perfect fit for us. It allowed us a village, a wonderful community, and we certainly have a customer there.
Our first Hingham location was darling..small, right across the street from Brewed Awakenings, in a very old historical building. Peter turned it into a little black and white stripe gem...and we set up shop nearly three years ago. We felt right at home! Last year I had the benefit of hiring a very old friend from Talbots, who was a buyer I had worked with 25 years ago. She is a fireball, full of energy and life, and is a long term Hingham resident.
Sadly, this winter, one February morning, the roof collapsed, and the building was completely torn down the next morning. We were homeless! Within two months, we located a new spot..not exactly in the village, but a fabulous new home for us now that Peter has again spun his magic. This spot is even bigger, has a lovely back porch where we have rockers to sip lemonade, and even better..a huge parking lot with designated spots for us. We are just getting the word out that we have moved, and one cannot miss us as you drive down North Street. The store looks absolutely beautiful, and it is truly a destination that one should not miss.
Down to Connecticut!
As we made our way down the coast, we had our eye on locations around New York City. We knew from our Nantucket store that we had a customer in a lot of towns in Connecticut. When a corner spot opened up in New Canaan, we jumped on it. We liked New Canaan for many reasons: it is very family-oriented, it is very community driven, and we had an old family friend ready to take on the position of store manager. Having a store manager is another big part of picking a location. It’s really important to find someone who is able to make the initial integration into the community.
Stay tuned for more fun facts on our stores in other locations!