As the season grows colder, activity in Martha's Vineyard's Art District ebbs to a trickle, making life a little harder on the island's retailers.
For 15 years, PIKNIK Art & Apparel owner Michael Hunter would keep his high-end, eclectic boutique open regardless. But over the years, he said, he realized that his store's neighborhood didn't really have the holiday presence he saw elsewhere. Like on Beacon Hill, for example.
So this year he decided to shutter his Vineyard store and move his wares to a temporary Boston spot. At the same time, Beacon Hill Kids was closing its 70 Charles St. business. However, it held the lease on the spot until the end of December. Hunter struck a deal with them and Beacon Hill's first pop-up shop was born.
"This was an opportunity to introduce my artists to a wider audience, and also to expand my own brand – PIKNIK – to a wider audience," Hunter said.
He got the keys to the space Nov. 1, spent the next three days repainting and moving in his goods, and opened Nov. 4. Since then, he's gotten a warm reception from shoppers, passersby and neighbors.
As he paused to talk to a reporter on a recent afternoon, a steady flow of shoppers circulated in the boutique, checking out its unique collection of artwork, clothing, assessories and other goods, much of it from the Vineyard.
"I've been getting a great response," he said. "Business has been awesome. The welcome has been amazing."