SPOFFORD, N.H. -- The building at 1763 N.H. Route 9 is once again open for business.
Manny's TV & Appliances recently moved from its spot in Keene's Riverside Plaza to its current location six and a half miles outside the city and Friday was the first day the doors were officially open.
Sales Associate and Assistant Manager Brandon Stewart told the Reformer the "Open" flag was flying proud on Friday, though the store had conducted thousands of dollars in sales this past week when customers stopped by out of curiosity while staff members were moving inventory and arranging it. Manny's -- which also has locations in Greenfield, Wilbraham, Hadley and Westfield, Mass. -- sells appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens and flat-screen televisions.
Stewart said the business moved from Keene, where it had a home for four years, because it was difficult to be successful in Riverside Plaza, also known as the Walmart plaza.
"It's so congested. It was so crowded (that) between employees and customers, you'd have to park six rows away to come in and look at something -- and that deterred people a lot," he said after helping two people from Vermont pick out a washing machine. "And we didn't get as much exposure there as we thought we would because we assumed with all the different businesses in there, you'd see the sign. Well, we've had customers just since we've been here this past week come in and say, 'I don't shop at Walmart. I have no reason to go into that plaza.
Stewart recalled how the new location brought in business from a woman who lives in Putney, Vt., and works in Keene.
"She doesn't go to the Walmart plaza and she didn't know there was a Manny's in town. But by driving by yesterday, she ended up coming in and buying a front-load washer for $900," he said.
Stewart said a lot of the store's business comes from the Brattleboro, Vt., area. He also said the store sells custom-made Serta mattresses.
The building once housed the Creative Woods Furniture store for 19 years, before it closed in the fall of 2012. Carol and Fred Moriarty started the business after Fred, a former certified public accountant, decided to take early retirement as the treasurer of the Holstein Association USA in Brattleboro. They started the retirement business to sell unfinished furniture, which they had fallen in love with since Fred's college years. But after nearly two decades, it became time to pull the plug.
"We've had some great years. The economy has been hard on the furnishings industry and we've had five-year renewals on our lease," Fred, who was also the executive director of the Unfinished Furniture Association, told the Reformer in September 2014. "So the lease came up and it forced us to sit down and do an assessment of our personal situation and it didn't make sense for us to renew the lease, with the economy not looking like it's going to bounce back very quickly.
"When you have a business and the business cycles down, you know that generally in about 18 months it comes back. But it's been five years since it headed down," he continued. "And it is coming back, but it's coming back very slowly."
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.