Faces closes without warning

  • Pedestrians pass Faces on Main Street Northampton, Monday afternoon, a day after the store closed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Karen Lindsey looks in the doorway of Faces as she walked down Main Street Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Bernabe and his son Arian, 3, of Spain, lean in a little closer to the sunglasses display at Faces in Northampton in 2015. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Faces on Main Street in Northampton Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Faces employee Brittany Kurki tends to the shoe display in the sale section of the store in 2015. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Fynta Sidime looks in the windows of Faces as she walks down Main Street Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Erica Martenson of Montague shops at Faces in Northampton in 2015, a time when the store was under threat of closure. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • A woman walks past Faces in Northampton in 2015. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2019 12:23:26 PM

Correction: An earlier version of erroneously reported Tiffany Hannoush’s first name.

NORTHAMPTON – Iconic Northampton shop Faces closed its doors Sunday.

Jennie Hall, who worked there for four years, says the news still hasn’t fully hit her yet.

“I changed a lot as a person there,” said Hall, 24, of Easthampton. “It’s just hard to see it go.”

Hall was a customer at Faces before she became an employee, and she said she made many friends there.

“It was a big part of my life,” she said.

Monday afternoon the store was locked and its shelves were bare. Although no closure announcement was posted, signs for a sale of 30 percent off all items in the store were clearly visible.

Faces first opened in Amherst in 1971, and then expanded to Northampton in 1986. The Amherst store closed in 1991, but the Northampton location continued on, even adding a second floor in 1994.

When the original owner, Steve Vogel, retired in 2009, his son Peter took over the business. In 2015, Peter Vogel announced that he would be closing the store unless a buyer could be found. It was subsequently purchased by a group of investors that included Camile Hannoush, of Hannoush Jewelers, and his wife, Tiffany.

Camile and Tiffany Hannoush sold their shares of the business to Therese and Daniel McCarthy three years ago. Therese is Camile’s niece.

“It’s the same reason any other brick and mortar is closing,” Camile Hannoush said of the closing, citing traffic in the store being down.

He did say, however, that he has been told by ownership that there are plans to reopen Faces in the Hampshire Mall.

“Hopefully they can get more support,” he said.

Hall said that employees were told last Wednesday by ownership that Faces would be closing.

“They claimed foot traffic was bad,” Hall said.

Employees were told by ownership that they had seen the closure coming, according to Hall, but that they hoped to keep the store open for another month or two.

Hall said that on Monday she found out via text that the store had closed for good, and that she still has personal items inside the store she was given no notice to retrieve. She also said that some other employees learned about the closure via Facebook.

The Facebook page “Only in Northampton” announced the closure Monday, which produced dozens of upset reactions from the public.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said that his office was not contacted by anyone from Faces. He also said his office reached out to ownership, and have not heard back yet.

“They’ve had a major presence on Main Street,” said Narkewicz, who remembered shopping at the Faces in Amherst when he was a college student.

He also said that Northampton has been fortunate enough to see a number of long-term businesses transitioning to new ownership, like Harlow Luggage, Cornucopia and Downtown Sounds.

At-Large City Councilor William Dwight, who was a longtime clerk at the late Pleasant Street Video, recalled buying used clothing and other items at Faces in Amherst, then known as Faces of Earth.

Dwight said that Faces was an anchor store for Northampton for a while.

“It kind of contributed to Northampton’s sense of itself,” said Dwight, which he said was light-hearted with a bit of a pointed edge. “Losing that, it’s significant.”

BeraDunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com

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