Galerié Leaving Downtown Alpharetta for Roswell's Historic Canton Street
After 22 years, Kessler will leave city behind, at least for now
The Galerié is leaving Alpharetta after 22 years in business in the city, the last several in the city’s small downtown.
Kathy An Kessler will leave her boutique storefront at 1 South Main St. behind when she moves to historic Canton Street in Roswell.
“It just isn’t working for me anymore and it’s not conducive to retail like downtown Roswell is,” she said. “The city of Roswell seems very excited to have me.”
The building in downtown Alpharetta already has been leased.
The Galerié’s new Roswell location should open in late March once the building is readied for her clothing store. Until then, she’ll keep her downtown Alpharetta store open.
The mural on the side of her current store will go with her to Roswell.
Kessler doesn’t think the city is pushing the ways it can help businesses very well, such as the façade grant program for downtown Alpharetta.
“I know they can only do so much,” she said. “Business owners just need to step up to the plate so they do find out stuff like this.”
City Councilman Mike Kennedy said the city has been more engaged with the Downtown Alpharetta Trade Association, with Economic Development Coordinator Christopher Jones also trying to educate businesses about the Alpharetta market.
"It's fair to say that we are very close to announcing 'City Center 3,'" said City Councilman Mike Kennedy.
As the city owns the property, development can proceed quickly, he said.
"It will be a better place," he said.
Kesler said has been working on her move for the last five months.
Her decision came when she realized she felt alone as a retailer in downtown Alpharetta. Main Street Art Company and The Cannery are gone. A few years ago those businesses, Nantucket Sandwich Shop and Smokejack set off each other enough to bring in some business.
“When those three businesses left this area, the downtown, it kind of left me sitting here by myself,” Kessler said.
It’s a whole different feeling in downtown Roswell, Kessler said. People plan to spend time there. They get out of the car and walk. When she was on Roswell’s Canton Street last weekend, she said the sidewalks were packed.
“I could have probably counted 200 people walking up and down the sidewalks, with their dogs, pushing their strollers, jogging, shopping,” she said.
“Compared to downtown Roswell, Alpharetta is like a ghost town,” Kessler said.
Kessler said she’s sure the part of downtown Alpharetta she’s leaving will be fine for commercial businesses, such as Digital Scientists, a digital marketing company. A fitness center and the antique mall should do fine also, “because they don’t need to feed off of other busineses.”
But shopping districts need that to survive, and Alpharetta hasn’t developed it downtown.
“I tried to wait until they made their big announcement that was supposed to be in January,” Kessler said.
But she had to sign a lease and couldn’t keep waiting.
If the city center project does come through and is a success, she may be back.
“I’m planning on coming back and opening a second store,” Kessler said.