Where to shop in New England>>>> West Concord 5 and 10, West Concord, MAWest Concord 5 and 10 Brings Shoppers Back to a Simpler Time
Article and photo by Eric J. Hurwitz
Somewhat in the vein of the old Woolworth's and Kresge's (first-generation precursors to Walmart and KMart), the five and dimes were usually smaller, but generally more personable. The West Concord 5 and 10, in business since 1934, proudly carries on the classic 5 and 10 experience in its most authentic, faithfully maintained, pure old-fashioned form. Norman Rockwell would have loved to paint this place and its close-knit, small-town group of "locals."
The West Concord 5 and 10 is actually part of a quaint, thriving West Concord business district that features myriad local stores, including Debra's Natural Gourmet, the Twin Seafood fish market, Concord Teacakes and the West Concord Super Market.
"The percentage of money that stays in town is vast compared to the big box stores," said West Concord 5 and 10 store manager Chris Curtis, of the benefits of having locally-owned shops in a given town.
There's almost a library or museum-like feeling to the West Concord 5 and 10, given that the average modern-day big-box store shopper is used to a combination of noises that raise the decibel levels. The West Concord 5 and 10, on the other hand, almost never displays a bombastic, overstimulating, turn-up-the-volume mentality, except for perhaps one part of one weekday.
"It is quiet, except for Tuesday afternoons when the schools get out early," said Curtis, who has worked at the West Concord 5 and 10 for 22 years.
The amount of merchandise at the West Concord 5 and 10 is seemingly endless and jam-packed, yet neatly organized to the sides of the somewhat creaky, imperfect narrow isles.
"We try to use every inch of space we can -- and we make our own shelves for many of the items we sell, " said Curtis, with genuine pride.
What can one expect to find at the West Concord 5 and 10? Virtually anything. For starters, you'll find yarn, home furnishings, kitchen appliances, candy, hardware, toys, stuffed animals, greeting cards, toilet seats, and electronics. You'll also find the unexpected -- like kettle cleaners and screaming flying monkeys (the chimp screams while flying through the air via rubber bands).
"We had ordered 96 of those screaming monkeys and the next day, we were down to four," commented Curtis.
Although the West Concord 5 and 10 has an amazing variety of practical everyday items, the chance to have some fun is always possible whether it's children enjoying the toys or, well, adults doing the same thing.
"A businessman came in yesterday and bought the Groucho Marx glasses with the big nose and fuzzy eyebrows," chuckled Curtis.
What really makes the West Concord 5 and 10 so special, however, is the extremely knowledge -- and quite personable --customer service. It's amazing how the staff knows where everything is located -- or where to order a hard-to-find item.
"We've been around a long-time, so we know where things are," said Curtis. "One of our employees is a grandmother who first started working here as a high school student."
Not only have some West Concord 5 and 10 employees been around a long time, but also the customers.
"I've seen a lot of kids grow up here, start families, and come back to our store with the new generation," said Custis. "In the big box stores, you really can't develop friendships like that... getting to interact with others is really the most satisfying part of the job."
The West Concord 5 and 10
106 Commonwealth Ave.,
West Concord, MA
Tel. (978) 369-9011
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