VisitingNewEngland small business partnership
Nesting: Heaven on the Second Floor in Concord, Massachusetts
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz.
created on 4/14/2018.
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Wendi Snider, owner of Nesting in Concord.
The sign above the cashier's desk says it all about Nesting gift shop
in Concord, Mass.: "To create and nurture a
warm and peaceful haven."
Like a retail form of taking a relaxing vacation, Nesting has landed on
many a local and visitor's Concord must-see "A" list for the past 14
years through a heartwarming, nature-inspired eclectic presentation of
gifts and a
welcoming, peaceful atmosphere. Unlike many expensive gift shops that
impress its owner more than the customer, Nesting offers an
unpretentious setting and products for all budgets. Located in one of
the last small town eastern Massachusetts downtown districts with a
truly impressive mix of independently-owned and operated stores and
restaurants, Nesting is certainly one of the best examples of the
strong small business culture in this historic New England town.
Gift shop lovers unite -- this is your
place that meets and often exceeds every criteria of this retail genre.
rooms with a consistent avian theme (like bird's nests and branches)
one-of-a-kind antique, vintage, contemporary and found objects
including home decor items, jewelry, blank notecards with beautiful drawings, handmade soaps, French hand
cream, books, games, prints,
sheet music, postcards, dishes, taxidermy and
during Christmas, ornaments and decor items. Much of the merchandise
is made by small businesses and craftspeople in the United States.
"It's all heartfelt," said Nesting owner Wendi Snider. "Not the things
you'd find at the
malls. And it's a shop for everyone to enjoy. We don't have a lot of
high end merchandise."
Charm, interesting merchandise and a relaxing atmosphere come
together at Nesting in Concord.
Nesting's second floor location might not be easy
to find although the street level sign, an open staircase,
bubbles leading to the stairs and a connection to the popular Main
Streets Market & Cafe (delicious homemade foods and desserts,
great drinks in a Cheers-like
setting) help bring deserved attention to the gift shop. People often
seem magnetized to the storefront with its eye-catching Nesting sign
above the store entrance in the distance.
The outdoor staircase leading to Nesting in Concord. Photo
Ultimately, though, this is
"Build it and they will come," word-of-mouth type of shop that strongly
stands on its own as a woman-owned business with the type of
that appeals to those in search of a gift shop oasis to connect
instead of a trendy place to be seen. Visitors as far
France, Costa Rica and New Zealand find the shop quite well with many
vacationers (and locals, of course) returning on their next Concord or New England vacation
visits. The location is perfect, too,
within close walking or driving distance to wonderfully
famous Concord attractions like Minuteman National Historic Park
including the Old North Bridge, the Concord Museum, The Old Manse,
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, Monument Square, Walden Pond State
Reservation, the Concord River, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Ralph Waldo
Snider comes across as a working class person and friendly neighbor as
opposed to a stereotypical refined gift shop owner. As an example, a
few locals and a first time shopper arrive on a cold March day right
around the 10 a.m. opening time, either buying a few things or just
stopping in to say hello with conversations flowing like that in a
An upstate New York native raised in a small town, Snider now lives in
a quiet rural community 45
minutes from Nesting, has no previous gift shop experience and chose
not to attend college in lieu of receiving an education in life 101.
"I have worked in photography, as a waitress, in a frameshop, as a
bartender, in a stained glass studio and in a garden center," said
Snider. "I am a working person and a jack of all trades. I fill the
shop with things I love and customers feel the experience. I want
people to leave here with a happy heart. It is that simple."
An impressive notecard section at Nesting in Concord.
Snider has a genuine love for people, and that strong attribute
transcends to those of all ages. Instead of viewing kids as little
people potentially breaking precious retail goods and being too loud,
Snider welcomes them as regulars in a store filled
with appealing merchandise for all to enjoy and constant positive
messages throughout the store.
One of the many positive messages at Nesting in Concord.
hires students, seasonally, from different schools and commissioned one
student at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., to create the
Nesting web site. Four
local middle school girls regularly visit the shop after school, put
down their knapsacks, and sit reading poetry over some Goldfish
crackers available in the store.
"If I could hire every kid, I would," said Snider. "They are part of
what makes my job so special."
Snider takes great pride in, and shows tremendous gratitude
toward her all-women staff. Terry ,and her daughter Abbey, bring their
own skills and passions to the shop. Terry, a Nesting buyer and
landscape designer who also runs a flower farm, makes beautiful soaps
dried flower arrangements while Abbey is a buyer and pastry chef who
cookies to the store that are most popular during Christmas and
Valentine's Day. Emma-Sofia, Natalie and Amy contribute greatly to
making the shop a wonderful experience for the visitor. Another
likable staff member: Willow, Snider's dog,
who is exceptionally well-behaved and clearly comfortable with retail
Snider first started her shop in Sterling,
Mass., many years ago but then moved the business to Concord. The
decision clearly worked, given Concord's presence as a thriving Boston
suburb with a lively but quaint central district. Despite being told by
a few that the shop might not work out, Snider forged ahead knowing
that following a passion and career dream could create a good quality
of life -- and make people happy in the process.
"We were told we were crazy by opening in a bad
economy," said Snider. "Fourteen years later, we are still here. I
really love what I do, my staff and the people who visit and shop here."
Nesting is located at 44 Main St.,
Concord MA. Tel. 978-369-4133. Web
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/Nesting397307453717031.
Massachusetts travel! Read
Town Greens book
-- Discover New England's first travel
town commons. Includes Concord's Monument Square, Lexington Battle
Green and the Bedford town common! Written by VisitingNewEngland
editor, Eric Hurwitz.
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