By Natalie Simms
Within the next month, Rome businessman Ira Levy hopes to start moving residents into his Lofts at Third and Broad condominiums. In addition to 26 condominiums, there are six retail spaces on the first floor and they’re filling up quickly.
“We’ve sold four of the six units and have two available. The closer it gets, the more interest we are seeing,” says Levy. “We are shooting for an Aug. 15 move-in date for residents upstairs. The units are primed, painted and just waiting for finishing touches. We’ve sold 13 of the 26 condo units and are hoping to see more interest perk up the closer we get to opening.”
Three of the retail spaces (units 3-5 along Broad Street) have been purchased by LeeAnn and David Dempsey, who own Bella Luna Gifts now at 15 E. Third Avenue. Another space, a 668-square-foot unit that fronts Third Avenue, has been sold to a local investor who will in turn lease the property for office space.
“We are definitely seeing interest in the retail spaces. I have been showing the property but as of right now, the last two spaces have not been purchased,” says Jimmy Kelley with Hardy Realty who is marketing the property for Levy.
The Dempseys will be moving Bella Luna into two of the retail spaces and have plans to open a new high-end nail salon, yet to be named, in their third space.
“We’re so excited to be moving and expanding on Broad Street,” says LeeAnn. “We will have new vendors, as well as our core vendors, and all are coming in to design their own space within the new store.
“We’ve done really well where we are and are excited to be on Broad. We hope to that will draw even more business.”
Bella Luna will have about 600 more square feet in the new shop plus it will all be located on one level as opposed to their current two-story location. “That will be a nice change of pace not to have to climb the stairs,” she says.
If construction on the new space is completed on schedule, Bella Luna will close at their current location on Aug. 25 to move and will re-open at their new space on Thursday, Aug. 29. Look for store hours to remain the same at the new location: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
As for the new nail salon, Dempsey says the new business won’t open until January.
“We hired students from Berry College to look at a business and marketing plan for what type of business was needed in Rome. And they recommended a high-end nail salon that will offer spa manicures, pedicures, foot massages, as well as a list of add-on services and skin treatments,” says Dempsey.
“We also own Purple Mountain Natural Foods and just moved that business this spring. Now we are focused on moving Bella Luna and will then turn out attention to the nail salon later this year.”
As for a name for the new business, Dempsey says that “is the question of the day”.
“I can’t decide on a name. My family is making suggestions but nothing we’re sold on at the moment. I will know it when I hear it,” she says.
The Dempseys recently sold their current building on Third Avenue to Mary Helen and Andrew Heaner, who own Woodford Clothing at 13 E. Third Ave. Store Manager Jody Brandon says Woodford will be expanding once Bella Luna moves.
“We are going to open a nice gift store that will connect to our current store, so we will make one big store,” says Brandon. “So, we will have one side called Woodford Gifts and Antiques and the other will still be our men’s and ladies’ clothing shop.”
Extensive renovations are planned for the building once Bella Luna moves. Brandon says there is no timetable yet set for when renovations will begin as it is contingent on the move. They hope to have the gift shop opened by late spring.