GROTON -- Getting in on the ground floor, so to speak, are a trio of enterprising businesses whose owners hope to be the anchors holding down the new Boynton Meadows subdivision.
They also hope to help kick-start a revitalization of downtown that could see the construction of a new Groton Inn just next door.
"As a resident of Groton, I love the idea of having more variety of businesses on our main street," said Anne Dries, owner of the new Buddha Nest Yoga studio located front and center at 134 Main St. "When I learned of the opportunity to be a part of adding to this vitalization by bringing Buddha Nest Yoga here, I was convinced this was the perfect location."
Buddha Nest Yoga joined fellow businesses Bliss Bakery and dentist Andrew Zale as the new commercial tenants in the existing building.
The historic former dwelling was painstakingly renovated by developer Robert France, who added a new, two-story attachment in the rear, creating space on the ground floor for businesses that the town hopes will inject new life into the downtown.
In addition to the three businesses, which moved in at the beginning of September, a fourth is expected to join them soon in the form of a 100-seat restaurant that will occupy space in the building's basement.
"I was located on Main Street but it was in an old Victorian house with space in the upstairs section," said Zale of his office's previous location.
Fronting the new access road leading into the main part of the subdivision, Zale's 1,200-square-foot office space features big windows that let in plenty of sunlight.
A resident of Groton, Zale has had an office in town for 44 years. He said he has always found Groton to be a good place to do business.
"Mine is a long established practice so I wasn't worried about a location that could be seen from the street," said Zale. "This new building and its accommodations suit me very well."
Located in one of two units at the front of the building, Dries' studio has some exposure to passing traffic on busy Route 119.
"Things are going well at our new location," related Dries. "Many students have pulled me aside to thank me for opening a yoga studio in their town, making yoga and meditation available to them. There has been an outpouring of support for our business and the services we are providing."
"In general, we've been very happy working at our retail site," added next door Bliss Bakery owner Sheri Dean. "We are happy to be out of the house and in our bakery, where we can provide a wider range of products.
"We really like our shop," she said, "and are working to increase both the types of products we offer and times that we are open. But for now, it has been a good transition.
"We are looking forward to the increased signage to let people know where we are and how to enter into the building," said Dean. "The people that have come to the store so far have been really great and encouraging. We appreciate all the support that we've received."
Demand has encouraged Dries to launch a new schedule of programs.
"Yoga has been around for many thousands of years," said Dries. " I believe people are looking for more than what they find at the gym.
"Yoga makes your body feel great," she said, "but it is about more than the short-term physical benefits. Yoga instills tools to calm the mind, to find more peace and happiness. You don't get this at the gym, and more and more students are realizing this."
And when students are finished meditating, they can cross the hall and check out something else that has also been around for a while: home-cooked pastries.
"From a personal point of view, we are residents of Groton and have children in the school system and this location allowed us to be available for our kids if something came up at home or school," said Sheri . "As a business decision, we felt that being in the center of town on Main Street would increase our visibility and help our business to succeed.
"So far it has been good doing business in Groton," said Dean. "We started doing farmer's markets here nearly four years ago and have met a lot of really great people in the process.
"Now many of these same people are coming to our retail store during the week," said Dean. "It's been a lot of fun to see them and talk to them on a more frequent basis. We really enjoy being part of the Groton community."