New shops help keep downtown Kensington bustling -- Gazette.Net


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Michel Huebner lives in Bethesda, but her store is in Kensington, the same town where she shopped as a child with her mother, an interior decorator.

Sage, Huebner’s furniture consignment store, opened about six years ago in Kensington, but moved to the town’s Antique Row downtown more than two years ago when a space opened up.

“Our business went up 33 percent by moving onto Antique Row,” Huebner said. “It’s just a different feel and community when you cross over Connecticut Avenue, because we’re centered right next to the neighborhood.”

The grocery store and a Saturday morning farmers market draw hundreds of people to downtown Kensington, near the town’s MARC train station. In October, Huebner launched Sage Style next door to her consignment store. Sage Style specializes in vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories from the 1930s through ’70s.

Huebner said the young couples buying homes in the area like the “Mad Men” style, and others come in to reminisce about the mid-century era and maybe pick up a small piece that brings back memories. The store also offers some new pieces that mesh well with the vintage styles.

“We really try and stock funky finds that you probably can’t get anywhere else,” she said.

Modern Mobler at Kensington, an outpost of a Washington, D.C., furniture store, sells vintage home goods and furniture out of a space it shares with Sage Style. The two are among about a dozen businesses to open in downtown Kensington in the past year, according to Monica Soladay, who does public relations work for the town.

On June 14, Urban Thrift became the latest business to open its doors in downtown Kensington. The upscale thrift store sells clothes, furniture, jewelry and other items to raise money for The Arc Montgomery County, a Rockville nonprofit that supports people affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Deborah K. Mark, director of communications and outreach for The Arc, said the store used to be in Wheaton, but that location was too small and the parking situation wasn’t good. The organization spent about a year looking for the right space and finally settled on Kensington.

“It is very visible; it’s right on Connecticut Avenue,” she said.

The store saw about 150 customers its first day, then a dip in traffic two days later, but business was steady the rest of last week, Mark said.

A directory of Kensington businesses and information about events are available at explorekensington.com.

ewaibel@gazette.net