Peartree Store Closes
Sales continue on websites.
by Sally Mitani
Jennifer Schroer and her twin sister, Amy Bolt, opened Peartree Furnishing & Gifts five years ago in Chelsea. Their particular metier was freshly elegant takes on English country-home styles and the appropriate accents to go with them. Three years ago they moved to the retail block on North Main between Miller and Ann with their fingers crossed. It looked as if the city had approved Mike Concannon's plan for a two-building, $30 million mixed-use complex on the site of the old St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church a block north.
That project is now on hold indefinitely, and Peartree's lease was up at the end of October. "We had a choice to renew for another three years or not," says Schroer. Not surprisingly, sales in heirloom-quality home furnishings have been flat lately, although Schroer observed dryly, "Once we started offering fifty percent off, sales went way up."
Schroer's mother, Mary Schroer, a state representative from 1993 to 1999 who helps at the shop, says that Pfizer's sudden exit from town didn't help matters--and then "last October, things just stopped. People stopped buying furniture." While Peartree stocked plenty of more affordable accessories, Jennifer says, "We need to sell furniture to make it."
Her mother explains: "People who buy more expensive furniture are people whose children have left home. You've done the IKEA, done the Penney's, done Sears, and now it's time to buy something worthy, something that's going to stick around for awhile. Now those people are watching their retirement accounts and saying, 'Oh my God, I just lost half of it.'"
Schroer and Bolt plan to continue to sell furniture on their two websites, www.peartreehome.com and www.peartreemodern.com.
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[Originally published in November, 2009.]