New study suggests growth potential for downtown Florence

Hampshire County

FLORENCE, Mass. (WWLP) – Downtown Florence may be getting ready for economic growth, according to a new study.

Five of Florence’s 67 storefronts are vacant. That’s a 7.5 percent vacancy rating. Northampton’s development director has data suggesting business is growing in Florence.

“I’ve met three or four new business woman who have opened up down here and I feel like we are all talking to each other, and trying to support each other,” Owner of Freckled Fox Cafe, Kitty Johndrow said.

Florence has a healthy mix of long term retail and new additions. The Freckled Fox Cafe is the newest additional to Main Street in Florence. It replaced Cup N Top Cafe in September.

Although downtown Florence only has 67 storefronts compared to Northampton’s 232, locals say its an up and coming area.

“It’s a perfect place for growth and the prices are still inexpensive compared to Northampton or Hadley or other areas that are much more built up and commercialized,” Tracy Roth said.

Northampton businesses like Shop Therapy say business is booming. But, with limited parking, some say its a struggle to get new customers.

“A lot of people don’t even know that the ones down the hill here exist at all,” Shop Therapy manager, Donovan Bartish said. “They just go around in a circle until they eventually find one on the street.”

While Florence has fewer stores than Amherst, Easthampton, and downtown Northampton, it’s on track to becoming a destination for shopping.

Of the five vacancies in downtown Florence, four are on Main Street, the other is on Maple Street.

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