Junction 71: Local business offers community unique finds

Editor’s note: Following is a question and answer session with Pamela Robinson of Junction 71 in Amherst. The locations offers home decor items, many of them locally made.

GP: What brought you to opening Junction 71?

PR: I’ve been in this type of retail for probably about 16 years, after I left the corporate world. I had my own shop at one point, and then was part of other shops throughout the years. In 2007, I got my real estate license – so basically, I had a real estate license with my full-time job, for 11 years. Last year, I took a leave of absence from real estate and retail. And when I came back, I wasn’t necessarily aiming for this type of avenue again, but I don’t know. The opportunity presented itself, and I felt I could do something great with the people that wanted to be involved. And that’s what it really evolved around.

GP: Some people that work in restaurants say it is in your blood. Is it the same for retail?

PR: (Laughs) I think so. Retail is definitely a part of that.

GP: It is difficult or is it fun, creating sections in your shop?

PR: It’s fun. There are some amazingly talented makers and creators. They love what they do. And they came in looking for a specific vibe, in a place to showcase their small businesses. So, we built off of that. And with all these individual spaces, I wanted them to create their own vision. I offered a little input on that. That’s what makes the shop so special.

GP: Is it hard to attract talent?

PR: It isn’t. I think because I was already a part of this type of business and knew a lot of these people, things kind of fell into place. That’s very unusual, I think. I know a lot of people who have this type of business, and they don’t always have the best of luck with who approaches them, and who they allow into their business. So, I already knew these people and they were friends and I knew what they were capable of. And then just all of us together, collaborating, created the shop spaces.

GP: Has there been anyone with a particular skillset that didn’t align with your vision for Junction 71?

PR: Not really. At this point, I’m at full capacity so I’m either doing a waiting list, or people are coming to me. Sometimes, there is already something here that’s very similar to what someone is offering to show here. So, I might turn away someone who is doing something with vinyl, or making signs, for example. I don’t want to have a lot of dealers doing the same thing. It takes away from the people who are here already, and I don’t want to do that.

GP: You’ve been open a month. How has business been?

PR: We have seen traffic from all the people involved, and all of their followers. And then local people, going from Amherst to Milford, or vice versa. The traffic coming down Amherst Street from Nashua has been good but I’m trying to get a little more visibility or signage. But the social media aspect is what’s been driving people into the shop. And that’s something that I can’t take any credit for. That’s Rhonda Gatchek from Vintage Birch Designs. She does all my social media and marketing. She’s just phenomenal. She has an amazing eye. She’s truly talented.

GP: You’ve been doing this a while. How do you measure the impact of social media on what you’re doing?

PR: It’s been great. And I appreciate what it does because back in 2002, and I had my shop, there was no social media. It was all mailings and word of mouth. You would meet people and network – here you still get to do that. But the social media aspect is just a huge bonus.

GP: Is there one thing that you’re selling more of in the store, than anything else?

PR: I think people are looking for that unique piece of furniture. Because when a dealer takes a piece of furniture, and they paint it or recreate it or repurpose it, it becomes a one of a kind. And people really love that.

Junction 71 is located 71 Route 101A, Amherst.