Where to shop in New England>>>> Maynard Outdoor Store, Maynard, MA
Outdoor Store Brings Back the Good Old Days of Locally-Owned Shopping
Article and photo by Eric H. (Posted Oct. 24, 2004)
There's something heartwarming about a locally-owned store surviving in a world of shopping malls, outlet stores and one-stop shopping superstores.
Such is the case with the Maynard
Outdoor Store in Maynard, MA. The Maynard Outdoor Store may the last of
a dying breed
"We're here for the long-run," said Fred Batstone, who has worked at the Maynard Outdoor Store for 28 years. "The biggest thing here is service. People come here,and everyone seems to know your name. People want to come here. They know they are going to get a fair price and be treated well. We're not corporate at all."
Faithful clientele from Maynard and surrounding towns come to the second generation-owned (the Cotton family), 50 year-old old-fashioned place to buy clothing, shoes, sneakers, jackets for all seasons, hiking boots, baseball gloves, winter gear and the like. As Batstone puts it, "It's kind of like L.L. Bean without the guns and canoes."
The red and white tile floors and original tin ceilings add to the charm. In the back, there is a stretch of red patterned linoleum that every kitchen seemed to have in the 1970s. It's an interesting juxtaposition to the modern world of Nike, New Balance and Timberland shoes.
Densely populated rows of clothing on racks and in shelves offer great selections and discounts. There's a wall of jeans that stretches virtually the entire length of the store, and outside there is a markdown rack right next to a hockey net. In the front window are displays, exactly the way business presented itself in this charming building in the early 1900s.
Fifteen years ago, the Maynard Outdoor Store expanded to include a separate clothing section just for women. Like the rest of the store, it is always filled with customers.
Batstone says that although the Maynard Outdoor Store carries high quality merchandise they are smart enough to realize that what they sell, others do, too. The difference, Batstone believes, is how the products are presented.
"You can find items here at outlet stores," said Batstone. "Nothing is 'exclusive' anymore. We base our success on product, mix and layout. It seems to work. Buying becomes a pleasureable thing here. People remember the things they buy here."
They keep coming back, although sometimes there's a gap between visits -- most notably with young adults.
"Kids graduate college and we don't see them come in with their parents for quite some time," said Batsone. "Then, we see grandparents from those families come in with their grandkids."
Batstone views the Maynard Outdoor Store as a microcosm of Maynard. The downtown is vibrant with several locally owned stores, new restaurants arriving with great frequency, a charming old-time donut shop, and a feeling of safety on the streets.
Digital Corporation kept Maynard hopping for many years, but when they closed in the early 1990s, the town suffered as many storefronts became empty. The town always had a strong community spirit however, and soon, Maynard made a nifty comeback. The town seems to be in it "for the long-run," just like the Maynard Outdoor Store.
"When people talk about downtowns dying, it doesn't apply here," said Batstone. " "People are stressed out and time management is a big thing in our lives. Here in Maynard, they can come downtown and go to the Post Office, bank, CVS. We have a movie theater, an eclectic performing arts group, nice places to eat, a donut shop."
"A mall is a great place to go, but it's cookie cutter," added Batstone. "You see nice stores, but they all tend to look the same, and you have to walk a long way to get where you're going. Here in our store you feel safe. You park close to the store, come in, get taken care of well by our staff...It's a good experience."
As Batstone continues to talk about his love for the Maynard Outdoor Store, a young mother asks him for help. With a smile and an idea of what she is looking for, Batstone returns to work. Soon another customer will leave the store satisfied, sure to return. Service is indeed a perfect marriage partner to product.
Maynard Outdoor Store, 24 Nason St., Maynard, MA. Tel (978) 897-2133
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