NEW BRITAIN – Mayor Erin Stewart and the Downtown District hosted a ribbon cutting for Billsbury Turtle Friday afternoon.
“I think it’s a great addition to downtown,” Stewart said. “We’re always looking for a diverse selection of places to shop in the downtown area. This is the second clothing store location that we’ve had, the first was Unknown and it’s been incredibly successful, so we hope that Billsbury will be just as successful too and we hope that people come down and check them out.”
The front section of the 870 square foot space, featuring a giant vibrant mural of turtles and fish, is being utilized as a shopping space.
“This is beautiful. The décor is unbelievable; it’s very relaxing and the items with the personalized logos on them, that’s great,” said Bill Moore, Greater New Britain Chamber president. “It’s really inviting people are going to want to come in and check it out.”
Customers can find items like custom T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jogging suits, hats and jackets.
“We will also be printing T-shirts. This back room will be transformed into a whole print room, so while we’re selling out front, we’ll be doing printing in the back as well,” said Jessica Angelo-Julian, co-owner. “If someone doesn’t see the colors they want we can create it for them, and even if they have their own ideas or logos, we will put it on the clothing.”
The upstairs will be transformed into a gaming center.
“Kids or whoever can come and play; they can purchase a membership and sit and play for an hour or two,” Angelo-Julian said. “Just to give them an outlet.”
“The store is dope. The aesthetics are amazing, I like the branding and the quality of the clothing is very good,” said Maciah Clark, co-owner of Unknown Clothing. “I think they’re going to do well, especially with the gaming.”
Angelo-Julian said it took the four man and woman team about three and a half months of working late into the night to make the vision come to fruition.
“We had to transform the space; we had to rebuild and redesign to make the store ours,” Angelo-Julian said.
Billsbury Turtle was started by Michel Angelo, Jessica’s brother, in 2006. The family is from New York, but has been in Connecticut for the past 26 years.
“So Michelangelo, as you know, is part of the Ninja Turtles so that’s where the turtle (logo) came from,” Angelo-Julian said. “The turtle lives the longest, it’s full of endurance and my brother has had his challenges and he is just pushing through those challenges.”
Angelo-Julian said they are pleased at how things are going though it is nerve wrecking opening during this time, but they are happy to be open downtown.
“He (Michael) wanted to be downtown,” Angelo-Julian said. “My dad has two businesses in New Britain and it just felt fitting to bring another extension of that to downtown. We are crossing our finger, legs toes that things go well, but even as we’re working and putting the products out my brother has people coming to buy the jackets which floored me, but it fits a certain demographic.”
Billsbury Turtle was presented a check by Gerry Amodio, the executive director of New Britain Downtown District, to help it get started and pay for the sign out front as a part of Façade Improvement Program.