PAWTUCKET – Those who have been patiently waiting for the revitalization of downtown Pawtucket, for storefronts that are filled with a diverse, vibrant array of selections, may not need to wait any longer with the opening of Still on Main, a unique shopping experience situated inside The Grant building on Main Street.
Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:30 Monday morning, Still on Main was opened to the public, offering a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options inside the 20,000-square-foot mall. Still on Main, located at 250 Main St. in the heart of downtown Pawtucket, is the brainchild of owner Leslie Moore, who collaborated with curator and property developer Mel Moore on what the mall will be all about.
Seventeen of the 18 storefronts inside the two-story mall already have occupants, which Mel Moore said is a testament to the vision laid out for the future within Still on Main.
“It's been needed and wanted...” he said. “The last six months we really ramped up, filled spaces, and curated a vibe.”
On the street-level floor are a variety of small businesses, each with their own unique flair and sense of style or creativity. Immediately upon entering The Grant from its Main Street entrance, there's EP Kitchen to the right, which won't be open for today's grand opening ceremony but will be up and running within a week or so, Moore said. EP Kitchen was “hand-selected” for the space, as they have a vibrant mix of what they serve, he said.
During the morning hours, EP Kitchen will offer breakfast sandwiches, bagels from Providence Bagel, and doughnuts from Knead Doughnuts. In the late morning and early afternoon, the menu will transition to a Brooklyn-style deli, which Moore said excites him as a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. In the evening, the menu will again transform, this time to feature empanadas and California-style tacos.
To the left of the main entrance is Flying Shuttles Studio, an award-winning art program of the Arc of Blackstone Valley, which showcases the creativity of artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Further inside the street level of Still on Main are two hair salons – Salon G, which specializes in cuts, color, straightening, and blowing; and Hair Jazz, which features natural hair braiding, weaves, and wigs.
There's also a children's play area inside the mall's top floor, where little ones can play games or read books while their parents or guardians peruse the shopping experience.
The Stoop features pastries, soul food options, and just about everything for a shopper with a sweet tooth, Moore explained. Near that is The Backyard, a juice bar during the day that will transition to feature coffee and tea in the evening with live music, thus creating “more of a vibe,” Moore said.
Two spas are also on the top floor, known within Still on Main as “The Courtyard.” They include Jasmin Facial – a spa with massages and waxing – and Heavenly Spa, which focuses more on steaming and foot soaking.
Shoppers who remember spending their hard-earned allowance money as youths at the arcade will be thrilled to visit Old School Amusement, a den that will feature upwards of 15 tall-top arcade games such as “Ms. Pac-Man,” as well as air hockey, foosball, bumper pool, and a lounge to relax.
“Want to get a break from work? What do adults do?” Moore wondered when discussing the potential for fun inside Old School Amusement. “You could even sit down and read a book.”
The upper level is known as “The Courtyard” because it is a more open-air atmosphere with a unique indoor/outdoor feel with trees and plenty of natural sunlight. A trip downstairs into Still on Main's lower level brings shoppers into what Moore calls “The Underground,” which is designed to resemble a New York City train station.
Situated in the lower level is Stajez, a dance school and studio out of Boston that offers tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and plenty more styles of dance.
As adults will remember their childhoods upstairs at Old School Amusement, today's generation of gamers will surely be interested in Off-Punishment, a gaming lounge that offers a “full gaming experience” complete with PlayStation 4, XBox One, high-speed monitors, and a full virtual reality gaming experience complete with a 65-inch television screen.
According to Moore, youths from the nearby Pawtucket Family YMCA conducted “market research” within Off-Punishment and “they went crazy” with how much they enjoyed the space.
If you're fixing to repair your home, then you'll want to check out Fixin' To, a one-stop hardware and service center that sells smaller items such as gloves, tape, and batteries and rents heavier equipment including buzzsaws and hacksaws. If you need a little help with your home improvement, Fixin' To also provides licensed technicians who'll provide a quote and assist with the work.
“You can take a pair of gloves and the person to do the work with,” Moore explained.
The Underground also includes Stellar Consultings, which provides business and consulting services. Moore said he hand-selected Stellar Consultings because of their ability to multi-task from accounting to building a website or a logo to branding on social media or assisting in the creation of an LLC or non-profit.
“They're really, really good at it,” he said. “I met them six months ago and it was 'Oh my god, you guys are amazing!'”
Unseen is a boutique project in the works at Still on Main, a destination where Moore said he could envision fitness sessions in the morning before work and at night after work. There's also Good Finds, a consignment and thrift shop that offers custom clothing and eclectic items. Good Finds also produces their own clothing line – Vibe Collective.
Still on Main is named after William Grant Still – whose name is on the building – an accomplished American composer who dreamed that his music would bring racial understanding and harmony.
“In that way, we've adopted the vision,” Moore said. “We want every space to be cohesive and bring cultures together, bring the community together, to facilitate and help local entrepreneurs to create an opportunity for themselves.”
“You've heard of incubator space, this is a true incubator space,” Moore added, noting that when people see what's going on inside Still on Main, they often say “Oh my god, I didn't know this was here.”
“People are waiting for something to happen in downtown Pawtucket, they remember when this was (busy)...” he said. “We have big plans and big goals. This is just the start.”
Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette