Clothing and Culture Collide at Gondwana & Diving Clothing Co.
This unique shop brings upscale fashion options to the Granite State while honoring diverse cultures from all over the world
Welcome to Re-Tales – an ongoing series of stories from retailers throughout the Granite State. Get to know your local shopkeeper and discover what makes their establishment special.
When Gondwana & Divine Clothing Co. opened in Concord in 1995, owner Pam Peterson envisioned a store that would honor diverse cultures from all over the world. Pam was later joined by her daughter Amanda, and together they bring unique, upscale fashion options to the Granite State.
Featuring over 100 lines of designer clothing, jewelry and accessories, Gondwana has grown into one of New Hampshire’s favorite shopping destinations. True to the store’s beginnings, Pam and Amanda continue to work with small US manufacturers and fair trade companies to bring a diverse selection to the store each season.
We reached out to Gondwana & Diving Clothing Co.’s owner Pam Peterson to learn more about this unique shopping experience.
What is the meaning behind the name of your store?
Pam: “Gondwana was the supercontinent that existed 250 million years ago as part of Pangea. It formed when Pangea broke apart by the continental drift — the southern supercontinent was called Gondwanaland and the northern Laurasia. We carry items mainly from countries in the southern hemisphere, therefore the name.”
What makes your store special or different? What are you best known for?
Pam: “Our shop is special because of our unique offerings of apparel, jewelry and gifts, and our ability to find the best styles for our customers. Today, although most of our products are made by small US companies, we are best known for our variety of designers, global design influence and our superior customer service. We are proud to have won Best Women’s Clothing shop in several annual contests for many years, including New Hampshire Magazine.”
Tell us about a memorable customer experience you’ve had in the shop.
Pam: “A memorable day for us (and all of downtown Concord) was maybe seven years ago for our annual Midnight Merriment, when all the downtown stores stayed open until midnight on the first Friday in December. The weather felt like Florida! It was in the mid-60s, and we all wondered if anyone would come downtown because it didn’t feel like the holidays, but it was crazy busy that night. I don’t think we have ever been as busy as that balmy day in December! People were happy, chatting and lingering with friends, and generally enjoying the unexpected reprieve from the December cold.”
If you could go back in time to your opening day, what would you do differently?
Pam: “I think if I could go back in time, I would have worked in a store before opening a retail shop. I’m naturally adventurous and loved this new avenue, but I came from a science background and knew very little about retail. I learned a lot over the years, and my daughter, Amanda Perkins, joined me in 1999 and helped bring the business to a new level. I would recommend to someone starting out to make sure they have a business plan in place, and always be prepared to be flexible. COVID-19 put us all on notice that you can’t count on things being the same or better from year to year, so be ready to be creative and enjoy and be thankful for your customers.”
What’s new and exciting in the way of products, offerings, experiences or milestones?
Pam: “We have been doing more ‘live’ videos on Facebook and Instagram since the pandemic hit, and Sara and Liz have organized a Facebook Live event that takes place on Thursday evenings called ‘Shop Happy Thursday’ that involves music, dance, trivia and showcasing new apparel, etc. We hear from people every day about how much they enjoy watching the ‘show.’ This is our 25th year in business and we would normally do a big sale, but with COVID we’ve had to re-work all of our events.”
What can someone experience in your store that they’d never get online?
Pam: “We are constantly looking for new designer lines in fashion, jewelry and gifts. Many of our offerings cannot be found online. We are passionate about seeing our longtime customers! We have people who have been supporting us for over two decades. It’s no nice to see them in person and know they are doing alright given the pandemic and all we are facing right now.”
How can people best support you right now?
Pam: “People can best support us by purchasing from us, either in-person or on our website GondwanaClothing.com, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. All local businesses need the support of their customers to stay the course right now. It’s local independent businesses who give each town or city their personality. Concord has so many small shops and restaurants and we all want to be here in 2021. Thank you!”
Gondwana & Divine Clothing Co.
13 N. Main St., Concord NH 03301