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Kestrel opens in former J. Rich space in Northampton

  • <br/>Items from Eliza Bradley new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/>


    Items from Eliza Bradley new store called, Kestrel rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.<br/>


    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, in her store on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/>


    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel rustic / modern / goods, in her store on Masonic Street in Northampton.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.

    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Among the items sold at Kestrel, a new store on Masonic Street in Northampton, are these woven baskets.<br/>

    Among the items sold at Kestrel, a new store on Masonic Street in Northampton, are these woven baskets.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.

    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.

    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.<br/>

    Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/><br/>Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/><br/>



    Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>


    Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kestrel carries items like the glasses, kitchen utensils and hanging terraria shown here. The store recently opened on Masonic Street in Northampton.<br/><br/>

    Kestrel carries items like the glasses, kitchen utensils and hanging terraria shown here. The store recently opened on Masonic Street in Northampton.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Items from Eliza Bradley new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/>
  • <br/>Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.<br/>
  • <br/>Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, in her store on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/>
  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.
  • Among the items sold at Kestrel, a new store on Masonic Street in Northampton, are these woven baskets.<br/>
  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.
  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.
  • Eliza Bradley, owner of Kestrel on Masonic Street in Northampton. The store carries a mix of rustic and modern merchandise.<br/>
  • <br/><br/>Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/><br/>
  • <br/>Items from Eliza Bradley's new store called, Kestrel  rustic / modern / goods, on Masonic Street in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>
  • Kestrel carries items like the glasses, kitchen utensils and hanging terraria shown here. The store recently opened on Masonic Street in Northampton.<br/><br/>

Kestrel, which opened in October, specializes in home décor and women’s accessories — everything from prints to furniture to textiles to jewelry. There are handwoven baskets, sturdy pottery, succulent plants tucked into delicate glass terraria. Bradley says the items are modern, natural and simple, “with a bit of a rustic industrial twist.”

Prices range from $15 to $200, with an average of around $30, she estimates.

Bradley, who grew up in Amherst, says that opening a shop has been a lifelong ambition.

As a teenager she worked at Roz’s Place, a Northampton boutique that carries both new and vintage clothing and accessories. In 1998, she headed to Boulder, Colo., where she was a buyer for a clothing store and studied fashion. Later, in San Francisco, she finished her degree and began working as a designer. But, she says, “The idea of creating a store … was always in the back of my mind.”

And she says the experience she gained as a retail buyer was a good foundation for opening her own business.

Bradley says her goal is to share beautifully designed merchandise with others. “Curating” a space filled with the work of artists and designers she’s long admired “seemed like a wonderful, wonderful job,” she said.

She says she purchases 90 percent of her merchandise from the artists and craftspeople themselves. Hearing the artisans’ stories, she adds, has been fascinating.

Bradley moved from San Francisco to Northampton last summer to open Kestrel. Finding retail space downtown was challenging, she said, until she learned that the J. Rich space on Masonic Street would become vacant because that store, which sells men’s clothing, was relocating to Main Street.

Bradley called on friends with carpentry experience to help her revamp the interior. “I was on my hands and knees ripping up carpet,” she recalled. Beneath that carpet was wood flooring. “They’re kind of like what my dream floors would look like,” she said.

Bradley says she named the store Kestrel for two reasons. Her late stepfather was an avid falconer, and as a girl she helped him care for birds of prey, including a young kestrel. The name honors her stepfather’s memory, she says, and also reflects the natural aesthetic she wants to cultivate for the store.

J. Rich now on Main Street

Meanwhile, the owner of J. Rich, the former occupant of the Kestrel space, says the move to Main Street has been good for her business.

A sandwich board on the corner of Main and State streets directs customers to both Kestrel and the new J. Rich location.

“It takes people awhile to figure out if somebody’s gone out of business or if they’ve moved,” said Nancy Donato, who bought J. Rich approximately six years ago. “Eliza is great about sending people over.”

J. Rich was on Masonic Street for nearly three decades before relocating to 153 Main St. this August. Donato said that she has updated the style of the store and shifted to more “fashion-forward” merchandise to broaden her customer base.

“I felt that Main Street would really give us much better exposure than a side street could,” she said.

Donato says J. Rich has seen an uptick in business since moving to its new location. She called the increase in customer traffic “dramatic,” and says it has allowed her to hire more employees and expand her merchandise selection.

The storefront J. Rich now occupies formerly housed Country Comfort, one of the businesses credited with revitalizing downtown Northampton in the 1970s and 1980s.

The store, which specialized in women’s clothing and accessories, closed in 2011 following the death of co-founder and owner Eva Trager. Trager is memorialized with an owl sculpture on Main Street.

Donato, a friend of Trager’s who was among those advocating for the statue in her memory, said that people who were Country Comfort customers are “thrilled” to see another local business in the space.

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