Myles Odermann

The Chapel Street shopping district has seen yet another storefront turnover: On Thursday morning, Dwell New Haven hosted its grand opening in the space that once housed the women’s clothing store Therapy.

The new business, located at 1022 Chapel St., will sell high-end home decor, baby clothing and other household items. On Thursday, a dozen people gathered at the store for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, New Haven’s economic development administrator, and Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven Affairs and University Properties.

“I continue to enjoy a fabulous relationship with Yale University Properties and couldn’t be happier opening another store in my beloved New Haven,” said owner Kimberly Pedrick, who also owns Idiom Boutique, a women’s clothing store just a few storefronts away from Dwell.

Therapy had been operating in New Haven since 2012 before closing earlier this year after sales and profits could not sustain the shop’s electricity bills, heating costs and general upkeep, according to owner Larry Johnston ’64. When Johnston’s business partner Thang Dao, who ran clothing style selection, halted the partnership, Johnston said he had difficulties choosing products to sell in the boutique. And although he used his personal funds to keep the boutique afloat, business never recovered and he was forced to close his Chapel Street shop.

“I was pouring money into the store, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years, and the money allocated to the store simply ran out,” Johnston said.

Still, City Hall and Yale officials are hopeful that Pedrick’s 11 years of experience running Idiom will ensure that her new venture thrives at the Chapel Street location, Nemerson said at the ceremony. Zucker also praised Pedrick’s business acumen at the ribbon-cutting, citing her knowledge of retail operations.

“Dwell is certain to be destined for success, as [Pedrick] is truly a wonderful retailer and person,” Zucker said. “She gets to know her customers, she builds a loyal following and she reminds us all of what a personalized shopping experience is truly all about.”

Nemerson said University Properties’ curation of retailers like Dwell has helped New Haven develop a regional and even national reputation as a shopping and tourist destination. According to Elihu Rubin ’99, a professor of architecture and American Studies, said the store provides a soothing, calming experience for alumni during summer events and Yale parents as they drop off their children and see the high-end store fronts. That experience affects safety and security in their perception of New Haven, he said.

As University Properties and other real estate agencies bring in new businesses, some students and residents will appreciate them, while others will not, said Rubin, who teaches a class about New Haven.

“[The downtown shopping district] is a place that attracts different people and tests our tolerance of difference,” he said.

University Properties was established in 1996.

Myles Odermann | @myles_odermann