Businesses in Market Square Woonsocket shut down, searching for new home

Businesses in Market Square Woonsocket shut down, searching for new home

National Grid cuts power to 68 South Main St.

WOONSOCKET – About 20 businesses in Market Square are searching for a new home this week after officials say utility company National Grid cut service to two historic buildings for non payment of bills.

The buildings were constructed in the mid 1800s and once served as part of the Falls Yarn Complex. Investor Marie Deschenes, owner of the phone and cable installation company Vogue Communications, purchased the sprawling former mill buildings in 2008 and has worked for the past eight years to create a “artist enclave” there, pulling in tenants including Stage Right Studio for Arts and Wellness, and RiverzEdge Arts Project, an award-winning youth development program.

Other tenants at “Le Moulin,” - “the mill” in French - as the project is known, included Blackstone Fencing Company, Frolicking Goddess Craft Studio and Yen’s Handmade, a gift shop specializing in handmade jewelry. Service was cut to the building on Wednesday, April 9 according to Planning and Development Director Joel Mathews, and the evictees also included a newly opened business, CMM Picture Frame and Gallery.

Mathews did not comment on the amount of the outstanding utility bill stating only that he knew it was “significant,” but said non-payment of bills was not the only problem at the former mill.

“There are major code and safety violations that have gone unattended,” Mathews told The Breeze.

Deschenes was scheduled to meet with city officials and the local fire marshal Monday morning to discuss the situation.

“We are very concerned about the safety of those that are in that building,” Mathews said.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and others on her administrative team are currently working with the owners of businesses affected by the shut down to identify other spaces on Main Street where their services can be accommodated, Mathews said.

“This is all really a shame because the building was doing really well as far as the number and type of tenants that were in there,” he said. “We’re trying to ensure that operations continue.”

When contacted, Deschenes said she could not comment on the situation at this time.

For more on this breaking news story, pick up the April 17 edition of The Valley Breeze.


Marie Deschenes is one of the hardest working people I know, she cares about her tenants and the city, yet the city is always on her back. Knowing Marie as I do, this problem will be temporary and she will be up and running in no time.

The city had no choice but to shut down the mill for the safety of the tenants and the public. In addition to the substantial unpaid electric bill, the mill does not meet STATE fire safety standards and has been uncompliant for YEARS. What "sucks" nbflea, is that all of those small business owners that put their blood sweat and tears (not to mention their money) into building up their businesses are now forced to close because their landlord doesn't pay her bills.

I stand behind what I said, WOONSOCKET SUCKS!
This isnt just about her, it is about the entire city as a whole.
Where is Walmart, Lowes, Shaws, Pizza Hut, and many of those "small businesses" you speak about that have closed or left Woonsocket?
I guess YOU can blame their landlords also.
Her building closed because of the electric being shut off, not for being uncompliant or unsafe.
It is tough to "build up" a business in this area when the city tax rates are always going up and new fees implemented .
People have enough trouble to pay their city taxes never mind supporting local businesses.
Even though her taxes, fees and utility rates on the huge mill buildings kept going up she tried to keep the tenants rents low, some of the lowest rents in area, just so they could stay in business.
Most of them even had heat & electric included!
Yes, she has been struggling but she will never give up, she will be back .
She did her best to help her tenants, Woonsocket should do more to help their "tenants".
This is why I say Woonsocket Sucks, I am sick of reading about businesses , large & small , closing in the city or people losing their homes.

I suspect james12 needs to buy "economics for dummies". Last time i checked...the only entity that can print money is the Federal Reserve.