The venerable Connah Store has shut. Frank DePasquale's ice cream and coffee shop, Dolce, is expanding into the space from next door. Sources tell us that the Connah Store's lease was not renewed after the property owner sought to hike the rent by nearly 250%.
During his 31 years at the intersection of Hanover and Parmenter, Connah Store owner Mark Petrigno watched as countless Hanover Street convenience stores and businesses came and went - including the shuttering of the Boston "I" Store, White Hen, and at least one 7-11.
While his store was never open all night, it was often the only business open on Hanover Street after 10 or 11 at night. Paula Taylor, owner operator of Off The Eaten Path food tours and longtime friend of Petrigno lamented the loss of the "lights and eyes on the streets" that the Connah Store brought which she described as a safety mechanism for those out and about at that hour - including the hundreds of restaurant workers.
I helped organize "Jane's Walk" for the North End Historical Society and appreciate the need for mixed use businesses that serve different customers at different hours of the day. This is a step in the wrong direction.
The expanded footprint of Dolce doesn't increase the total number of business DePasquale operates in the North End, but it does bring the total square footage of businesses that he operates to nearly 22,000 square feet.
Map of DePasquale's business interests in the North End which include eight restaurants, two sandwich shops, and furnished short-term rental suites:
The expansion represents further concentration of business ownership in the North End as well as a continuation of the trend towards a monoculture of businesses that cater towards serving primarily visitors while pushing out businesses that the neighborhood needs to be healthy. (See: the closure of several butchers and bakeries over the last two decades as well as two hardware stores, the independent pharmacy, Prince Postale, Dairy Fresh, florist, ... the list goes on)
Read more about the loss of storefronts in the North End.