NORTHAMPTON, Mass.- On November 17, Northampton’s Pride & Joy will hold its grand re-opening celebration. Since its inception in 1992, this store holds a special place in the hearts of the LGBTQ family. It is a destination, a rite of passage, and a top destination to buy fun queer gifts and Northampton souvenirs. The new co-owners, Jennifer Harlan and Joy Rain, purchased the store over the summer and have been steadily working to create a renewed sense of energy, passion, and enthusiasm for the store.
The first step included moving the store to Thornes Marketplace, which is Northampton’s favorite place to shop on Main Street, they said. Just down the hall from Herrell’s Ice Cream and across from Left-Click, this much larger location offers customers the chance to enjoy shopping on both the upper and lower level of the store.
“Changing the location has been like joining a new family,” said Jennifer Harlan, Co-owner, Northampton’s Pride & Joy. “At Thornes, the store becomes part of something bigger, a special space in the heart of downtown that makes transparent its importance in Northampton.”
With the facelift also comes the store’s new tagline Harlan explained.
“Our new tag line, Live and Let Shop, sums up our vision,” she said. “We want this store to be a destination for our LGBTQ community, and to also welcome our allies. We want our customers to be excited to come buy creative, high-quality products that celebrate the vibrancy of our community and our city.”
The acting Mayor, David Narkewicz, and Northwestern County District Attorney, David E. Sullivan, will participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand re-opening.
“We hope everyone will come join this celebration, which in many ways represents the rebirth of Northampton’s Pride & Joy,” said Joy Rain, Co-owner, Northampton’s Pride & Joy. “It will be a special time of reflection on just how important this store is to our LGBTQ community and the greater Pioneer Valley. As Jennifer says, our store is a place where, when someone is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity and fear their world is shrinking, they can come to this store and realize their world actually just got bigger. Our products will be fun and exciting, and we’ll also provide resources such as books, contacts, and bumper stickers. Sometimes a phrase creates an opening for a conversation that can be life-changing.”
Northampton has a long-standing reputation of being one of the most progressive cities in the U.S. and is often cited as the “lesbian capital of the U.S.,” said Rain.
“Our store is truly a celebration of the city and is the go-to store for Northampton souvenirs and gifts,” she said.
Harlan adds, “We are excited to unveil a new line of Northampton clothing and mugs.”
Northampton Pride & Joy’s Grand Re-opening is a historic day in the community, a day that says our retail store will live on. So, come be part of history and shop!
Photo: Army Sarvis
Cutline: Army veteran Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.