Hinkson's, With Garage Lease Signed, Prepares for a Historic Relocation
Hinkson's, the stationery store that has served as the anchor of 80-84 Nassau Street has had delis, restaurants, diners, and pharmacies as neighbors.
But soon, its neighbors will include a restaurant legendary for buffalo wings, a music shop, and even a municipal garage.
Hinkson's is finally making the move they have been promising for more than a year now: to the 1,100 square-foot space at the municipal garage on Spring Street, where they look forward to fitting into an area whose dimensions are more appropriate for the store's demands.
The store has long relied on large accounts, bulk orders, and shipping for up to 70 percent of its business.
"We're really looking forward to it," John Roberto said of the move. Mr. Roberto co-owns the shop with Andrew Mangone. "I think you have to change with the times, and if you don't progress, you get left behind that's just the way I've seen things happen here."
Mr. Roberto, whose family runs Town Management Inc., the firm that owns 80-84 Nassau, said Hinkson's current location would be better served for a store that relies more on walk-in business. Qdoba Grill, a Tex-Mex eat-in/take-out restaurant, has signed a lease to occupy the space, but Mr. Roberto was not able to give an exact date when it would open. The Hinkson's site will require extensive work to make the transition to a restaurant.
And while the move for Hinkson's, which, once it moves, will be known as "Hinkson's, The Office Store," is a benefit to the business, Mr. Roberto did not deny the fact that the entire move is bittersweet."
"You know, I'm kind of in the middle, because I own the building, I own the business, and it's going to be a sad day when we leave," he said.
"But I'm happy that we're moving on to the new location, which I think we have to do."
Mr. Roberto noted the imminent explosion of new residences and pedestrian traffic in that part of town. Not only has Witherspoon House, as of Monday, leased out 21 of its 24 units, but the second phase of the downtown development project, a five-story building on the surface lot next to the Princeton Record Exchange, will add to the shopping presence in that part of town.
"It's going to be a good area to be in, and I think we're actually lucky to get that spot," Mr. Roberto said.
Hinkson's should be ready to open sometime in the first week in July, Mr. Roberto said. "That's our slow period of time, so it couldn't be any better for us."
The new store will focus heavily on the more popular walk-in items, like printer cartridges, laser cartridges, and different kinds of paper, and labels, but the store is big enough, Mr. Roberto said, to house what the current store holds. "It's gonna be packed."
The new store will also be somewhat more modern, with track lighting and ceramic tile floors a departure from Hinkson's current, and somewhat antiquated, fluorescent light and carpet situation.
Mr. Mangone, who said that the brunt of the store's business comes from the 35,000 item catalog and the Web site, said the key goal in the new location is to create an environment where there would be quick turnover, thus avoiding any "dead inventory."
Hinkson's, Mr. Mangone said, is ultimately a family affair, where relatives used to work in the shop to earn extra spending money. Before the move "we're going to have a little celebration," Mr. Mangone said. "Just to talk and reminisce, really."