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WorkinCT: Main street shops here to stay in Deep River

DEEP RIVER -- “I’ve been in this town delivering mail for 42 years, and it’s like a country club. It’s so nice. Everybody knows each other and they all help each other,” said Chris Hebert, a U.S. Postal worker who delivers mail in the neighborhood.

That’s especially true for the shops along Main Street.

Sage Novak owns two businesses in Deep River. She opened a men’s shop called the Anchor and Compass in 2010. Then opened a women’s store called Compass Rose.

“Women would come here and shop for their guys. Guys would come in and shop for their guys, and every day, literally, multiple times a day, I’d get the question ‘Why don’t you have things for women’?” said Novak.

She says her loyal customers come in faithfully, day after day, and they keep her and the other Main Street shops flourishing. She says she’s noticed a push to shop small.

“I think one of the things people are realizing is they are missing that sense of contact and personal touch, and they are appreciating it that much more,” said Novak.

That’s why Novak says while shopping malls are seeing declining sales and major retailers are closing stores, Main Street shops are still doing well.

“In this day and age of the internet and Amazon, the malls are struggling. The homogenization of retail in general in America has been a big factor in that. People are tired of seeing the same thing all the time, and they’re tired of going into stores where everything’s a mess or they can’t find help,” she said. “Main Street businesses work really hard to keep their merchandise unique, approachable, friendly. We’re open seven days a week because we know we need to be here for our customers and we need to be easy to do business with, and I think that’s resonating in communities throughout the state.”

Not to mention the trickle-down effect a bustling Main Street has the rest of the community like restaurants and gas stations and hotels. Dough on Main in Deep River sees that first hand.

“We all thrive. We all feed off of one another. The foot traffic increases. People come here once they realize that we’re here, they come back,” said Jura DellaCamera from Dough on Main.

And the store owners in Deep River don’t see that changing.

“I think Main Street shops are going to continue to see growth because people who own these shops and people who do business in these shops and people who purchase from these shops are all in it together. We are here to stay and we’re here to provide a service to our community, and we take really great pride in that,” said Novak.