You may have noticed a few changes to the streetscapes around town lately, as two popular Concord businesses are celebrating expansion and relocation of their operations.
After more than two decades, the Concord Flower Shop has left Thoreau Street for a new location in West Conocrd, and Concord Convenience on Lowell Road recently celebrated the opening of the Trail’s End Cafe.
Helen Halloran of Concord Flower Shop said she is more than pleased with her 135 Commonwealth Ave. location, which officially opened on Sept. 6, and all of the friendly faces in town that have welcomed her back to her old neighborhood.
“I grew up within walking distance of here, so it really feels like I moved home in a way,” Halloran said, recalling the days when her current store was a Chrysler dealership.
Halloran said she envisioned her shop in its current location the moment she first looked at the space, with its large service window, opening the workspace to the showroom. The window is one of the primary differences between the new Concord Flower Shop and its previous incarnation, allowing customers to observe and communicate with florists while they create arrangements.
“We wanted more of an open studio feel,” Halloran said, though she does fondly miss the Thoreau Street locale. “It was a great space for us for 22 years.”
Beginning in November, the Flower Shop will offer monthly workshops where people can learn about different arrangement techniques and styles. Halloran said the shop will be offering free mini workshops during the Oct. 15 Discover the New West Concord celebration.
Just under a couple weeks into the new location, Halloran said customers have been having little trouble finding her, and that she hopes to grow her customer base with West Concordians who may not have visited her old shop closer to Concord Center.
“Our customers are so loyal, and we do so many Internet orders now,” she said.
The true test of how successful her new location will be, Halloran said, will be the upcoming holiday season, which next to Valentines Day, is one of the busiest flower-purchasing times of the year.
“Even in a bad economy, people will part with a little more money for Christmas and Thanksgiving,” she said.
For more information on Concord Flower Shop or to sign up for the workshops, visit www.ConcordFlowerShop.com.
Across town, on Lowell Road, Halloran’s daughter, Caroline Halloran is the head baker at the brand new Trail’s End Cafe, an extension of Concord Convenience that opened last week to a great reception from the community. The cafe is part of a larger effort to create a corner store atmosphere at Concord Convenience, featuring local and healthy foods in the store and in the eatery.
Despite a brief power outage at the very moment the cafe opened, its first few days in business have gone smoothly. According to Halloran, who will be whipping up fresh confections everyday at the cafe, said the most popular pastries so far are her chocolate-coconut bars and cinnamon buns.
Chef Jason Chisholm said the lemon-pepper chicken salad with spinach and tomato-rosemary jam, grilled sirloin and mushroom sandwich with horseradish mayo were the favorites among customers in the cafe’s first few days.
“Those two were really just cranking all afternoon,” said Chisholm, who also sold out of corn and bacon chowder, and tomato soup.
The menu features a handful of ingredients from New England farms, something owner Elizabeth Akehurst-Moore said she would like to have more of in the future.
Akehurst-Moore said she was pleased with the turnout on the cafe’s opening day.
“It was really good,” she said. “A lot of people came in. We were really busy for lunch.”
In addition to the 47 seats in the cafe, Akehurst-Moore said they will offer outdoor seating in the spring, and already have plans to extend afternoon hours — Trail’s End is currently open until 2 p.m. — and offer food for pick up.
Trail’s End Cafe is accessible off both Lowell Road and Keyes Road. For more information visit www.ConcordConvenience.com or www.TheTrailsEndCafe.com.