2017-09-17 / Insight

New York City transplant starts business in North Branch

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 •

Robert Solomon is getting the old Fairway location ready so he can open a business selling curios he’s collected over the years into a physical location.Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Robert Solomon is getting the old Fairway location ready so he can open a business selling curios he’s collected over the years into a physical location.Photo by Nicholas Pugliese NORTH BRANCH — Residents of North Branch might have noticed some hustle and bustle inside the former Fairway storefront on Huron Street downtown. Soon to be home to the tentatively titled Treasury Thrift and Vintage, recent transplant from New York City Robert Solomon is preparing to bring his unique collection of collectibles to North Branch, and he couldn’t be happier to be a part of his newly-adopted community.

Solomon, 44, was born and raised in Westchester, New York. He attended the State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany as an English major. Soon after, he landed a job in financial services public relations before eventually rising to become the director of marketing at Rubenstein Public Relations, but the high-intensity lifestyle left him searching for an escape.

“There’s a really friendly vibe here,” he said of Lapeer County. “There’s the existence of a real community here, and that’s something that was really lacking coming from Queens.” Solomon purchased a “modest bungalow” near Hemingway Lake last October, and has been here ever since — a decision, he said, has made a world of difference. “My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.”

Solomon didn’t choose to relocate to Lapeer County on a whim, he said. “My mom is from Michigan, in the Lake Fenton area. In fact, my mother’s father founded Fenton Farms,” said Solomon. “Even during my career (in New York), when things would get really crazy, I’d always try to escape to Michigan.”

Solomon purchased the Fairway storefront in North Branch with the aim to move his online business selling curios he’s collected over the years into a physical location, and collectibles and vintage items have always been a passion for him.

“I’m always looking for things that speak to nostalgia across all generations,” he said. “I just started going to yard sales and getting to know people.” It’s Solomon’s hope that his business will grow to include other interested vendors setting up shop in the expansive retail area, as well as include the possibility of auctions or estate sales. “It’ll be interesting to see what direction it will take,” he said. “I’ll need people that want to come in and do things like jewelry and clothing collections.”

Solomon said what sets his collection of bric a brac apart from similar stores is his items will be of interest to collectors and enthusiasts of all stripe.

“Everyone’s got their own niche, and I’d like to have a retail space that reflects that.” His upcoming business has grown from his eBay store, Otter Gifts, and he said he aims to provide customers with unique gift ideas that will add a personal flair to what might otherwise be more standard gifts.

Presently, Solomon said he hopes to open his storefront to customers sometime in October and is currently seeking interested vendors to set up booths.

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