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Downtown clothing store moves to Salmon Run Mall | Business

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WATERTOWN — During last year’s holiday shopping season, merchant Marylois Queal thought about moving her downtown clothing store, Loft 315, to the Salmon Run Mall.

But she figured she would stick it out at her Franklin Street storefront.

A few weeks later, she found out she would have to close for at least three or four months while Neighbors of Watertown and Jefferson Community College proceeded with the construction of JCC’s education center.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Queal, 46, opened her business in the mall to avoid being in limbo for months.

“I love it here,” she said, stressing that she doesn’t regret the move.

She’s done more business in two days than she would have for an entire month at the downtown location, the businesswoman said.

She’s leasing about 3,200 square feet — about 2½ times more space than downtown — in a store next to the Torrid store.

For now, she’s the only employee of the business she began in 2019.

She’d like to initially add a couple of part-time employees and then expand that to eight in the future.

With the move, she’s expanding from her own brand of jeans she’s sold at Loft 315 to “more general clothing” that fits with the mall atmosphere, Mrs. Queal said.

It’s not the first time that she’s worked at the mall. Her first job was working in the children’s department at Bon-Ton, then at the Lerner’s Shop, and she helped open the Disney Store there in the mid-1990s.

“I feel like I’m back home,” she said.

Mrs. Queal was forced to move after the Franklin Street building was sold to Neighbors late last year. She found out about the deal when contractors showed up one day.

“I miss downtown, but I don’t miss the politics,” she said.

She closed the downtown location in January. It took her from that time to get the new location ready for the opening, completely remodeling the space and getting the inventory on racks.

Her husband, Jon, and her three children have helped her.

“It was an extremely difficult move,” she said.

On Friday afternoon, Jessica Cushenberry stopped in to the new digs and bought a summer dress. She never shopped at the old location, saying she didn’t even know it existed.

“It’s nice, good stuff, good prices,” she said.

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Those hours will change in a few weeks to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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