EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 13, 2013

High Street businesses express hope despite loss of Converse


“You can’t think of just the people across the street,” he said.

Terry Holland, owner of Stachey’s Pizza at 21 High St., said he doesn’t think the loss of Converse will hurt his business, which has been there for four years. Both Holland and Santoro said the space now occupied by Converse will be attractive to businesses.

The former mill buildings that house Converse and Schneider Electric on one side of High Street and Good Day Cafe, Jaime’s and Stachey’s on the other side were used by the Davis & Furber textile company many years ago.

They have since been rehabilitated into commercial and residential space.

“I feel really good about the mills,” said Holland, who also owns a Stachey’s Pizza shop in Salem, N.H.

RCG LLC, of Somerville, owns the building occupied by the restaurants, while Mansur Investments, an Indianapolis company, owns the Converse and Schneider Electric sites. Both Holland and his nephew, David Holland, manager of Stachey’s, said there is a waiting list of people who want to rent space on their side of the street.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect us too badly,” David Holland said.

Santoro said she’s confident her products will keep her business thriving. She and her staff make their own muffins, pastries and coffee rolls “from scratch,” she said. They also roast their own meats instead of buying them from a delicatessen, she added.

“No one does what we do,” Santoro said.

“I don’t think it’s going to put anyone out of business,” said David Steinbergh, the head of RCG. The improvements he has made to his property have made the Converse and Schneider Electric sites more attractive to potential tenants, he said.

All 27 apartments in his building are occupied and there’s a waiting list of potential tenants, according to Schneider.

When RCG bought the property in 2007, it was 20 percent occupied, Steinbergh said. It now averages between 90 percent and 95 percent rented, he said.

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