For Bridget Windsor, her new home goods and design store on Main Street is a throwback to her high school days in Concord, when she and her friends started a house painting business to pay for their college education.
Spruce Home and Company opened on August 19 at a location next to Dos Amigos, where a Metro PCS store once stood. The store is a family affair, the Windsor girls and the 82-year-old mother have stepped up to prepare the store to open in recent market days.
The store sells quirky freebies, like napkins with embroidered abbreviations for swear words, as well as home improvement materials like wallpaper and non-toxic mud furniture paint that Windsor loves. Products with New Hampshire imagery and 603 slogans will make great gifts for people like her son and daughter, who now live in Los Angeles, she said.
Windsor also offers interior design consulting, an extension of its pre-store interior design business. She hopes this combination will set her apart from other Concord companies. “I’ve never seen anything where you can get freebies and then also have color consultations and painted furniture,” she said.
As a high school student, Windsor started a painting business in Concord, working through the high school and college summers to save money. It taught her how to run a business and gave her an interest in painting which she never lost.
“We painted all the houses in the West End and around White Park during the summers and we had a lot of fun as kids and then we were able to make a lot of money,” she said. “I have always returned to painting all my life.”
After 18 years spent at home with her children, she returned to decoration by working as an assistant to an interior designer before going on her own.
When the pandemic hit, she helped redo the interior of Bona Fide Green Goods across the street. The downturn allowed her to focus on the parts of her interior design business that she loved.
“I started painting more furniture during the pandemic because I had the time and because I was at home,” she said. “People loved it and bought it, and just saw that they could have something in the house that was in their attic or garage or whatever and give it new life.”
In November, Windsor opened a pop-up store in Portsmouth called Shop Broad with Amanda Hackett, owner of Bona Fide Green Goods, and two other female business owners, in a vacant ice cream shop for the winter.
“I was in charge of the decoration, layout and appearance of the store,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I would like this.” Although she hadn’t always planned to open a retail store, when the Main Street location became available, she jumped on it.
Her phone’s wrap is chock-full of photos of the painstaking renovation and painting it took to transform the drab cell phone store into something more like a fashionable friend’s living room. There were some incidents – Windsor had to ask her contractors to tear down the flooring she had tried to do herself.
She wants the store’s atmosphere to be friendly and welcoming. “I want people to come in and have a good time. I want them to feel welcome here. I want them to feel at home, ”Windsor said.
Guests are greeted with music, the occasional snack, and Gus, a friendly brown Labradoodle with a bed tucked away behind the back counter.
Her daughter, now 16, came up with the name “spruce” after searching for a verb to sum up Windsor’s skill at remaking a room with small touches.
“We live in New Hampshire and in the woods there are spruce trees everywhere. I’ve always loved it and I love the woods, ”Windsor said.
These Granite State woods echo in the store’s walls, which are painted a vibrant shade of green. Green also happens to be the favorite color of the avid paint shop owner.
“People were like, ‘I just want you to spruce up this area, and really spruce up my kitchen.’ So it kind of evolved into that.
Spruce Home and Company is located at 32 N. Main St. in downtown Concord.