Downtown Andover, with its historic brick buildings, bustling boutiques, cozy restaurants, and heavy foot traffic, looks every inch the quaint New England town that it is. Andover residents feel immense pride in their downtown and go out of their way to support local businesses. “In Andover, ‘shop local’ isn’t just a saying,” says Danielle Berdahn, who owns the restaurant Yella with her husband, chef Carlo Berdahn.
Yet over the past several months, “shop local” has become more than a way of life in Andover. It’s also become a rallying cry as small businesses try to recover from the Columbia Gas disaster, which plunged Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover into long-term recovery mode.
In addition to homeowners who have endured weeks and months without gas service, small businesses have suffered, from ripped-up streets to gridlocked traffic and a lack of parking that prevented patrons from visiting. There was also the long wait for restored gas service, safety inspections, and, in many cases, new equipment and appliances, like furnaces and huge commercial stoves. Months later, many businesses have only just started to reopen.
Restaurants were hit particularly hard as they waited for gas service to return. The day of the disaster, Andover chefs saw huge flames suddenly surge from stovetops in their restaurants, prompting mid-meal evacuations once they realized the widespread scope of the problem.
Days later, when it was safe to reenter, owners of those restaurants found an eerie, postapocalyptic scene of abandoned meals and commercial refrigerators and freezers filled with food that had to be thrown away. “When we finally got back in, there was half-eaten hummus, half-drunk glasses of wine,” Berdahn says.
Palmers Restaurant & Tavern not only had a restaurant full of diners but was also prepping for three private functions that weekend, including two wedding rehearsal dinners that night.
Of course, the restaurant industry wasn’t the only one struggling in the wake of the disaster. The Andover real estate market has also taken a hit. For instance, banks wouldn’t finance houses without gas, leaving both buyers and sellers in a frustrating limbo, says Deborah Lucci, team leader of the Deborah Lucci Team for William Raveis Realtors.“You could have a buyer that sold their house that is now displaced,” she says. In addition, landlords couldn’t collect rent for apartments without heat and hot water.
Lucci also says that inventory was up this fall over last year, reaching a whopping 55 percent over last year in November. More inventory means lower prices. Meanwhile, some sellers were forced to take their homes off the market, as gas lines continued to be repaired and oil-heated homes surged in popularity, thanks to gas-averse buyers. Other sellers delayed listing their homes at all.
Despite the tough fall, Lucci says the Andover real estate market is stabilizing. But amidst the losses, setbacks, and frustrations, Andover businesses are soldiering on and leaning on each other for support, sharing information and resources, and cheering each other on. “The lifeblood of the community is the downtown,” says Steve Leed, co-president of Royal Jewelers, a downtown business that celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018. “The focus right now, and the rallying cry that we should have as a community, should be ‘Andover: All You Need; Shop Local.’” Indeed, downtown Andover is a destination that has it all: great restaurants, men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, books, bakeries, salons, and more. “To me Andover is a real working downtown. It’s a really vibrant downtown.… It’s a full-service downtown,” says Ann Ormond, director of business, arts, and cultural development for the town of Andover. And its businesses and residents plan to keep working—even harder than before, committing to coming back better and stronger than ever.
Palmers, for instance, has used the downtime to clean, paint, upgrade, and refresh the restaurant, as well as revamp the menu to include items.
More renewal will come to downtown in the form of an Andover Restaurant Week in late January, as well as the brand-new initiative First Fridays, which celebrates local art, culture, food, and shopping with free, family-friendly events on the first Friday of each month. For instance, February’s First Friday event will feature free salsa lessons and music at Old Town Hall, Ormond says.
There’s even a new business downtown in the wake of the disaster. The new Theory Wine Bar + Listening Room gives visitors a chance to experience unique small-batch wines and live music from local jazz, funk, indie, folk, and other original acts.
Owners Jenny Schneidewent and Chris Bachmann say their opening was delayed about two weeks because of the disaster, but they remained determined to move forward as local buzz for their business grew. “We’re excited to finally open our doors and invite people in and become a part of the community” Bachmann says.
Ormond says “resiliency” is a word she’d use to describe the feeling in Andover over the past couple of months. “I think the whole business community has been resilient and positive,” she says. Berdahn has another word to describe her mood: grateful. She says she’s been overwhelmed by people’s kindness, pointing to the outpouring of support and encouragement she’s heard from loyal customers, neighbors, and even former employees who’ve offered to lend a hand. “This has been such an opportunity for good people to shine, and they have,” she says.
That shine glows throughout Andover. But don’t take our word for it; check it out for yourself. “We are here and open for business,” Leed says.
Andover Must-Do List
This downtown “shoetique” offers designer women’s brands with an eye toward that ultimate dream team: Style and comfort. Although shoes are the store’s heart and soul (or sole), you can also find other items there, too, like clothing, personally styled necklaces, and accessories. 4 Main St., 978-409-1541, soleamour.com
Andover Classic Wines
One visit to Andover Classic Wines shows that the shop has definitely earned its name. Its shelves are thoughtfully stocked with the perfect combination of classic favorites alongside selections from new and exciting winemakers. Its expert staff and weekly wine tastings will help you choose a great bottle. Not a wine drinker? Not to worry. Find great craft beers here too, especially locally brewed ones. 209 North Main St., 978-470-0500, andoverclassicwines.com
Wine can be intimidating, but not at wine-sense, where everything about the experience of choosing and tasting wines is fun and educational. The shop has an in-house wine educator, a monthly wine club, informative tastings, wine classes, and private tastings, not to mention an awesome selection of wines from around the globe. 166 North Main Street, 978-749-9464, wine-sense.net
Elegant French-inspired flowers and arrangements are only one of the reasons to shop at Les Fleurs. You’ll also find unique hand-selected antiques and intimate workshops. 27 Barnard St., 978-475-9669, lesfleurs.com
MAK & CO.
Home furnishings, jewelry, antiques, gifts, fun community events, design services, and a welcoming vibe await customers at MAK & CO., located in a refurbished mill building on the Shawsheen River. 18 Red Spring Rd., 978-475-5511, makandcoandover.com
Royal Jewelers provides big-city style and luxury right in downtown Andover, with 5,000 square feet filled with incredible pieces, and offers impeccable customer service. It just celebrated its 70th anniversary! 58 Main St., 978-475-3330, royaljewelers.com
Savoir Faire Home
Gorgeous home décor, furnishings, gifts, treasures from around the world, and interior design services make Savoir Faire Home a beautiful and inspiring place to shop. 23 Barnard St., 978-409-6188, savoirfairehome.com
Find beautifully designed women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories from brands like Nic + Zoe, Eileen Fisher, Vineyard Vines, and many others at this shop’s Andover location. 15 Barnard St., 978-470-8260, irresistibles.com
Max & Riley
Run by a mother-daughter fashionista team, Max & Riley is a sweet boutique filled with gorgeous party dresses and everyday wear, plus fun shoes, gifts, and accessories from an impressive roster of designers like SJP Collection, Rachel Zoe, Tanya Taylor and many more. 2 Elm Sq. #1, 978-470-1503, shopmaxandriley.com
Todd Rogers Eyewear
Want to shake up your specs? Look no further than Todd Rogers Eyewear, the super-hip, designer optical shop where they’ll take great care of your vision and make you look like a vision, all at once. 18 Park St., 978.749.7300, toddrogerseyewear.com
With a huge space dedicated to all things bridal and a team that’s equally dedicated to top-notch customer service, Cristina’s Bridal is your source for wedding style from an incredible array of gorgeous designer bridal gowns and accessories, and looks for moms, maids, and flower girls, not to mention designer trunk shows, and more.
La Mia Moda Boutique
Offering a “European touch with a New York edge,” La Mia Moda Boutique is your source for the hottest emerging designers, offering tops, bottoms, dresses, accessories, jewelry, handbags, shoes, and other stunningly curated items. 1 Main St. 978-409-2797, lamiamodaboutique.com
Curl up with a good book and a cookie by the fire at the cozy downtown Andover Bookstore, which welcomes everyone from kids hunting for their favorite picture books, to book groups, to readers gathered for author visits, to Phillips Academy students stocking up for the new semester. 74 Main St., 978-475-0143, hugobookstores.com/andover
One of the newest additions to Andover’s dining scene, Bueno Malo brings SoCal-style tacos and libations to happy diners. 93 Main St., 978-409-2119, buenomalo.com
Palmers Restaurant & Tavern
Have lunch, dinner, or your most special event at Palmers, which has been serving upscale dishes in a beautiful space for decades. 18 Elm St., 978-470-1606, palmers-restaurant.com
Yella: A Modern Mediterranean Grille
Delicious and creative Lebanese-inspired fare, an expertly curated wine list, and an intimate, cozy atmosphere make Yella a local favorite. 16 Post Office Ave., 978-749-0011, yellagrille.com
Elm Square Oyster Co.
Working closely with local fishermen, Elm Square Oyster Co. offers the freshest seafood served creatively and deliciously from its scratch kitchen every day. Visit for its seafood (including an exquisite raw bar), while also exploring its American bourbon selection, cheese and charcuterie, entrees, and desserts. 2 Elm Sq., 978-470-2228, elmsquareoysterco.com
Proving that necessity is the (delicious) mother of invention, LaRosa’s stayed open during most of the gas disaster recovery by revamping its menu with cold items like sandwiches, salads, carpaccio, and ceviche. Now they’re back to normal and better than ever with its café and bar options to suit whatever your taste of appetite. 7 Barnard St., 978-475-1777,
Philip Ciampa Salon & Day Spa
Look your best for any and every occasion thanks to Philip Ciampa Salon & Day Spa. Its Andover location offers a relaxing respite where clients can experience the best in hair care, cutting, styling, and treatments, plus makeup, waxing, and special event services. 22 Park St., 978-475-7988, philipciampa.com/AndoverAbout
David Nicholas International
With more than 35 years of perfecting his work, David Nicholas is one of the world’s most renowned makeup artists, providing services to celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Pompeo, and Cicely Tyson. It’s no wonder that so many on the North Shore and beyond turn to him for makeup services, training, instruction, and bridal makeup. 18 Park St., 617-242-0177, dnimakeup.com
This chic, sleek, ultra-modern salon dedicates itself solely to hair, which means your tresses will be healthy, gorgeous, and glam thanks to highly trained stylists who offer services like cutting, styling, coloring, hair treatments, and more. 28 Chestnut St., 978-378-3333, saloninvi.com
Addison Gallery of American Art
This academic museum on the Phillips Academy campus houses one the country’s most important American art collections, with more than 20,000 objects, permanent installations, traveling exhibitions, rotating shows, and public events and programs—and free admission. 180 Main St., 978-749-4015, addison.andover.edu
The Andover Village Improvement Society is celebrating 125 years in 2019, making it the perfect time to explore some of the nonprofit land trust’s more than 1,100 acres of open spaces, like Dear Jump Reservation, Indian Ridge and Reservation. Various locations, avisandover.org/reservations
Nearly 10 miles of trails, three beautiful hills, including one topped with “solstice stones,” and a rare “quaking bog” habitat are just a handful of the amazing features of this 700-acre reservation. Prospect Rd., 978-689-9105, thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/north-shore/ward-reservation
Located on the historic Phillips Academy campus, the Andover Inn provides a cozy nearby getaway steps away from downtown, with beautiful guestrooms, on-site dining at the restaurant Samuel’s, and special deals like the “Romance Package,” which is perfect for Valentine’s Day. 4 Chapel Ave., 978-775-4900, andoverinn.com
Oak & Iron Brewing
Find craft beer and nibbles in this mill turned brewery on the Shawsheen River, plus fun events like yoga (with a beer flight included!). 18 Red Spring Rd., 978-475-4077, oakandironbrewing.com
Theory Wine Bar + Listening Room
Stop by the brand-new wine bar and listening room to sample small-batch wines, hear great live jazz, and catch up with friends. 10 Main St., theorywinebar.com
Date of Settlement
Date of Incorporation
32.1 square miles
Median Household Income
Shawsheen Preschool, Bancroft Elementary School, High Plain Elementary School, South Elementary School, West Elementary School, Sanborn Elementary School, Doherty Middle School, West Middle School, Wood Hill Middle School, Andover High School, Greater Lawrence Technical School
Poet Anne Bradstreet; actor Michael Chiklis; Red Sox star player Jim Rice; entertainer Jay Leno; fourth U.S. postmaster general Samuel Osgood