Rediscovering the Shops of Manchester, NH

Skipping and shopping through the Queen City



CC’s Consignment Boutique

photo by melissa boulanger

September is a good time to get out and grab a few things to add to the wardrobe without altogether packing the summer wardrobe away. It’s also a good time to visit your old friend “Manchester” and skip through town to the beat of Earth, Wind & Fire. Why? Do you remember the 21st night of September?

Let’s face it, we all want to make a statement and at Statement you can do just that. Start with a pair of jeans from Silver or Not Your Daughter’s Jeans and begin the art of layering. From size 4 to 20, this shop is full of style. It’s all about having an open mind and letting head “Statementista” Andrea Lessard put her talented flair to work for you. The funky, chunky necklaces are a work of art and worth every penny.

You never know what is behind the locked door, so ring yourself in to StudioVerne, and indulge in a quick fused glass tutorial. Verne (Shaw) Orlosk opened the studio after teaching for 17 years at the Currier Museum of Art. Her intricate work (layers and layers) in fused glass is museum quality, highly sought after and distinctive. The studio offers a small collection of fused art pieces ($50) that are matted and meant to be framed.

There are some shops that need more than a glance and K-Fab’s Boutique is that kind of store. Here is where you will find many choices when it comes to sophisticated outfits for work or play. Look for trendy athletic wear (yoga), colorful resort wear and an endless collection of accessories. Warning: There is a rack of “All items $10.”  One customer took half the rack into the dressing room, but I was still able to wiggle a good find.

New grandparents are somewhat of a picky bunch; that’s why when it comes to properly gifting the next generation, big-box stores just don’t cut it. Thanks to Kaitlen Hannah Baby Boutique, trust fund babies and their parents will find just what they need to properly introduce the new member of the family to the rest of the world. Look for organic onesies from Kate Quinn, premium reusable bottles, chewy, colorful, safe teething beads, Robeez (so adorable) baby shoes, yummy soft blankets, toys and anything one might imagine to fill a royal nursery.

Hold on to summer a little longer with a few inexpensive middle-of-the-season wardrobe extensions at CC’s Consignment Boutique. Grab a plaid button-down sweater, a pair of gently fitting jeans and maybe (if you hit it right) a fun pair of leather boots. This little boutique is adorable; the clothing is arranged so you can see it, sort it and not sneeze in it (mothballs, ick). The owner is picky about her consignors and their goods. She’s also interested in softly worn clothing from your stylish closet.

Benton Shoe Company is an Elm Street icon. Like the little engine that could, this tiny, packed shop keeps humming with drastically reduced first-quality items, including shoes, dresses, sweaters, skirts, jackets, accessories, scarves and more.

Are the shorter days getting you down? Don’t book your winter appointments with your therapist just yet. Stroll into Chalifour’s Flowers and book a weekly arrangement to get you through the dark days ahead. The arrangements are simply stunning and could just as easily be found on Fifth Avenue. Need a “wow” gift? Pick up a beautiful basket overflowing with thoughtful items.  This well-loved florist offers two floors of customer service for all occasions. 

Queen City Cupcakes
Photo by Melissa Boulanger

Bacon. That’s all, end of story. OK. Let’s add some frosting and place it atop a fluffy cupcake. If that doesn’t float your boat, let Queen City Cupcakes take your taste buds on a tango. On any given day, you’ll find at least 12 different cupcake flavors to choose from (they make about 100 different kinds). The lemon drop cupcakes are lip-smacking yummy and the red velvet are sublime. Call ahead, flavors sell out fast.

Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries and Deli is another fine place to park a sweet tooth, especially if you’re a chocolate lover. The Black Forest Torte of rich chocolate layers laced with Kirsch and filled with whipped cream and cherries is ridiculous. Look for fruit pies and cream pies, cheesecakes, cookies and more. Need a quick deli sandwich? No problem, the place aims to please. This is another Manchester icon showing up at special gatherings through the generations.

On the corner of Chestnut Street is where you’ll find Angela’s Pasta & Cheese Shop and a culinary heaven. Fresh-made pasta cut to order, homemade sauces, imported cheeses, fancy crackers, gourmet foods and cases full of prepared dinners await your trembling appetite. There’s always fresh-baked bread and a generous assortment of unusual cheeses to sample before buying. Look for the row of 20 wines for under $9.95 and pick up a few bottles. If I could wave fairy dust, I would order dinner to go every night and never step foot in a kitchen again. That’s amore.

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