New Milford boutique relocates from Brookfield, grows five times in size

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

NEW MILFORD — Every Sunday during her childhood, resident Gina Lacey would visit her now late grandparents home and enjoy looking through her grandfather’s extensive antique collection.

“My grandfather (Joe Gonsalves) had always been an antiquer,” Lacey said. “The entire basement of his house in Massachusetts looked like an antique shop. It was always a fun place.”

Lacey, who just relocated her curated resale boutique called The Hunt from Brookfield to 20 Bank St. in New Milford, inherited her grandfather’s collecting bug.

At 5,000 square feet, the store, which is in the space previously occupied by Makery Coworking Space, is over five times larger than its previous location on Whisconier Road in Brookfield.

The new spot, which is on two levels, sells men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares. Clothing items are trendy or classic pieces.

“Our items ranges from vintage marbles at 25 cents apiece to large furniture pieces in the hundreds,” said Lacey, a mother of two teenagers.

The store carries many original collector’s items from years past, such as an old-style ice box and rotary dial telephones. There are also clocks, cameras, tools, stoneware, and pottery from previous eras.

Like her late grandfather, Lacey carries a large supply of milk glass pieces, which is a milky white type of glass. “It goes with every color scheme and can be used year-round due to its neutrality,” she said.

“My whole life I’ve been thrifting, going to estate sales and tag sales. In Massachusetts, they were called yard sales,” she said.

“Whenever I saw something that looks like a good deal, I bought it and I filled my house with stuff. Then, once my house exploded, I wanted to open a store,” said Lacey, whose previous jobs were as an executive assistant at a technology communications company and a fifth grade teacher at Sherman School.

About 12 years ago, Lacey opened Callie’s Closet in New Milford, which was a resale clothing store for children. She sold the store after a few years, since she said it was hard to keep it up as a single mother with two small children.

She planned to open The Hunt last March but due to the pandemic, she wasn’t able to open until last May.

“The biggest challenge during COVID was initially having to wait to open the shop. Then, once I was able to open, it was keeping customers and my family safe,” she said. “Since opening, we’ve taken the protocols very seriously and have been able to stay open, minus some weather-related incidents.”

From May 2020 through January, the store “expanded so much and got so much more inventory that I knew I needed a bigger space,” she said.

As the store’s name indicates, Lacey hunts down every unique piece “all on my own,” she said. She gets many items through online auctions and has traveled all over the state and country to find items. Sometimes, she buys from individuals in estate sales and does cleanouts.

She said The Hunt provides another activity for people when they come to New Milford’s downtown.

“When I first moved to New Milford 25 years ago, there was a lot more foot traffic downtown, and a lot more to do downtown,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of retail, but now there’s a bunch more fun shops for people to go into.”

Lacey said for many, the store serves as a trip down memory lane.

“Everything has a story behind it,” she said. “I love when people come through and they look at things and they’re like ‘I had this when I was a kid. My grandparents had this.’”

The Hunt is now looking into expanding its men’s section. Lacey also is looking forward to displaying original artwork and hosting community events, such as art shows.

Lacey said she feels extremely fortunate being able to do what she greatly enjoys.

“They say ‘Do what you love and it’ll never feel like work.’ I’m there, I have that,” Lacey said. “I’m filling a community need while helping the environment and meeting so many fantastic people. I’m giddy.”

For more information on The Hunt, visit thehuntct.com or call 860-799-0775.