Mr. Steven Karp and Downtown Newburyport

The corner of State Street and Middle Street in downtown Newburyport, MA.

I walked by the store that used to be the Candle and Mug shop. A much beloved place, accessible to all socio economic groups of folks.

This is one of the properties that is now owned by Newburyport’s new landlord, Mr. Steven Karp.

The first time I walked by, it was about to pour rain, so I didn’t go in. But I went back the next day.

The shop, that just opened, sells shoes (and a few clothes, but mostly shoes).

It has a very “up-scale” look.

(Note to readers: I probably am one of the few women in the USA who doesn’t love shoes. That’s just me. But I respect all those folks out there who do love shoes.)

I went into the shop and picked up a very nice looking pair of shoes, and went, “Ooops, not in my price range.”

Then I went and picked up another pair of shoes and went, “Oooo, really not in my price range.”

Then I saw a pair of boots and when I looked at the price, I said to myself, “Don’t even go there.”

And finally, I saw a pair of men’s shoes that I was impressed by, but when I saw the price, I went, “Say what?”

Let’s just say this is not a place that middle income families are going to be shopping at a lot. This store is definitely geared towards the more “well to do.”

And this is where Mr. Karp could be headed with Newburyport, MA.

This is not a chain store. This is a store out of Maine, that is beginning to expand (one day it might become a chain store, but it now has 6 stores, so it’s not chain store at the moment.)

This is a privately owned, family run business, not local, but out of New England (Maine). It’s been around since 1830. All very hard to argue with.

It is also aimed at a certain socio economic group. (It does not fit in with the goals of our Master Plan.)


So, enjoy places like Angies. Give the “buyLocal” stores in town that appeal to all socio economic groups of people, lots of patronage, because it would be my guess that they would need it.

If the new shop at the corner of Middle and State Street (as nice as it might be) is any indication of where Mr. Karp might be going, it could be a pretty good indicator of the direction that Newburyport might be taking in the next 10 years.

(For those who might not know, Mr. Karp owns a great deal of downtown Newburyport, and has bought up a great deal of waterfront property in Newburyport, MA.)

And I don’t know, my guess would be that if folks might not like it, that if this would be in fact Mr. Karp’s objective, that there would not be much that anyone could do about it. (To re-state the obvious, this is the danger of one person owning so much vital property in Newburyport, MA.)

Mary Eaton

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Karp has been on a many people’s minds the last few days. BuyLocal sponsored and co-sponsored two events this weekend. And Ed Cameron has recently blogged about Mr. Karp noting that the phrase “high-end consumer” appeared to be a phrase that is often used. And Tom Salemi on his blog is doing some major in-depth blogging on Mr. Steven Karp.)