Respected Men’s and Women’s Clothiers Want To Be Where It’s “Happening” and Choose New Bedford!

2 Dartmouth Clothing Stores Try New Bedford on for Size
By Joe Cohen Standard-Times Writer

NEW BEDFORD — A pair of parallel men’s and women’s clothing shops that have been SouthCoast fixtures in Dartmouth for a decade plan to pull up roots this summer and, in the words of one of the owners, head for a “happening place” — downtown New Bedford.
The Bay and The Cottage — men’s and women’s upscale clothing stores — anticipate opening in September in the red brick building at 89 N. Water St., bounded by Elm and Bethel streets and across from the Candleworks Restaurant, just off Route. 18.
The Bay and The Cottage will take over the first floor formerly occupied by Divino, an Italian restaurant. Total space will be 3,600 square feet.
Tony Vieira owns The Bay, and Graca Rezendes owns The Cottage, which The Bay used to own. The clothing stores are now located at 77 State Road (Route 6) in Dartmouth.
Mr. Vieira describes the stores as selling “forward, upscale, better-quality” clothes to people who appreciate “the old way of doing business: personal service, quality and alterations.”
He said some of the lines of men’s clothing sold are Hart Schaffner Marx, Jack Victor, Joseph Abboud and Tony Bahama.
The location the stores are moving to is “ideal,” according to Mr. Vieira, with good access to Route 18, plenty of off-street parking and in the neighborhood of businesses like the Candleworks Restaurant.
Mr. Vieira said he took into account in making his decision the plans to transform Route 18 into a pedestrian-friendly area next year, The Waterfront Grille is opening nearby, and ground will be broken this summer for a new downtown hotel.
“I think downtown is ready to blossom. There is a lot of excitement there. I think stores of my ilk belong downtown — it is the wave of future,” Mr. Vieira said Wednesday.
As for Dartmouth, he said, “It has been 10 wonderful years. I think The Bay is ready to move on to a more happening place — and I think downtown is the next happening place in our area.”
Mr. Vieira conceded he might not have been comfortable moving to downtown New Bedford before recent changes occurred.
“I would not have done it five years ago, but the time is right now,” he said, adding “things are coming together” like the CORK wine bar, The Waterfront Grille and the planned 106-room hotel across from Homer’s and Leonard’s wharfs off JFK Memorial Highway.
Mr. Vieira said he believes The Bay and The Cottage will add to downtown’s growing cachet.
“We feel we are among the more prominent independent retail business establishments in the area, and we feel other businesses will follow us there and build a nice retail mecca.”
There is no set date for the stores’ opening.
Mr. Vieira said the owners need to make improvements at the new location.
Assisting with the cost of the improvements and the move was a long-term, low-interest business loan from the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
Mr. Vieira said he would likely have made the move without the loan, but noted that in business it is “always a help to get additional funds for build-out and marketing a new location. The loan goes a long way to help in doing that.”
Matthew A. Morrissey, NBEDC executive director, said Mayor Scott W. Lang and he made a number of pitches to encourage Mr. Vieira to make the decision to move, along with providing the loan on favorable terms.
“You should consider it a trend, because certain types of businesses realize it is cool to be in the downtown — and profitable,” Mr. Morrissey said. He said the emergence of the downtown business district is similar to what is happening in a lot of places where businesspeople are moving back from suburbs to metropolitan settings.
Mayor Lang, in a prepared statement, said he was “pleased to welcome these successful entrepreneurs to expand their businesses in the heart of downtown.”
Contact Joe Cohen at
July 24, 2008
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