Wellesley saw its share of businesses coming and going in 2018, but the biggest change took place at the Belclare complex on Washington Street on the edge of Wellesley Square, where it was almost all about businesses coming.
The luxury condos at the Belclare filled up in a hurry back at the end of 2015, but the retail spaces remained mostly vacant, despite a few close calls.
Sure, Thirst Juice, located on the Grove Street side of the Belclare complex, did have its last kale in January. Later in the year, however, salon Atelier opened on that same block, and the real action took place on the Washington Street side. There, the Agnes Vision optical shop, Barber Walter’s, Laer Realty Partners, La Mia Moda boutique, CouCou kids’ clothing/fashions/housewares, Legit Activewear all opened for business. Pucker Gallery also made a cameo appearance.
On the food front, the big news was Bertucci’s closing suddenly in May, part of a corporate meltdown. While the space behind Playhouse Square remains vacant, White’s Bakery is expected to open soon in the former bank space at that corner of Wellesley Hills. The other big restaurant news was steakhouse Smith & Wollensky opening its first suburban location in Wellesley, in the former Blue Ginger space. Big shoes to fill, big wallets to empty.
Sweetgreen has been doing a steady business in Linden Square since it opened in early 2018, and nearby, The Cottage refurbished itself. The Cottage owners are also prepping for Door No. 7, a fancier restaurant across the street, to open soon. Mark’s Pizza & Subs closed and that building was razed to pave the way for a refurbished Papa Razzi.
Mark’s is busy readying for its new location nearby at 10B Washington St.
Fiorella’s, a fast casual Italian eatery, is aiming for a February opening at the former SuSu’s spot across from the Belclare.
Orangetheory might sound like food, but the fitness joint that opened in Wellesley Square is actually a solution to burn calories. New businesses like this are sure to keep Swellesleyites beautiful. And while id. Salon closed its doors in Wellesley Hills, Le Vernis Nail Studio opened in the old 2nd Time Around space in Wellesley Square.
Zoots earned recognition as the most classless closing of the year in Wellesley (2 locations) and beyond, leaving people in a lurch to start 2018, forcing some to drive to the back of beyond to pick up their belongings. Neither Zoots space in Wellesley has been filled yet.
Alfredo’s Hair Design, near the Lower Fall Zoots, also closed its doors after 30 years (and the word is that Mark’s Pizza & Subs could resurface there).
Some Wellesley businesses changed locations. Among them: Lyn Evans and Clementine (in the former Xylem space), both in Church Square. FLX Training, formerly near Clementine in that strip between Rte. 9 and Rte. 16, slid down to Linden Square. Page Waterman moved its framing and gallery business to an expanded space on Washington Street. Home Decor Group replaced C & T Paint on Linden Street.
Other new faces in Linden Square include Verizon, Code Ninjas and Kenzie & Hope. The latter is a fresh twist on Kenzie Kids, which new owner Shani DeFina says re-opened in August after renovations, and is refocused on clothing, gifts and accessories for teens and young women. DeFina says she’ll aim to bring in brands that give back to the community.
One summer shocker involved Miss Michelle’s Center for the Performing Arts clearing out of Linden Square after 10 years following an unsuccessful lease renewal. A dog grooming business called Pampered Puppies is moving in. Linden Square also bid adieu to French Lessons, a tenant for 12 years.
And finally, let’s not forget that Red Apple Convenience store peeled out as mysteriously as it operated.
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