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Local natives take over two downtown shops

New owners have history in the region and passion for its future

Lauren Gunther grew up in Williamsburg and says Northampton was always the place to go for everything from shopping, dinner out or hanging out. In college, she wrote papers about opening a store downtown. “I felt like it was the best community to incubate a new idea,” she says.

Alex Feinstein grew up in Northampton and Easthampton, often walking and biking downtown. He made a mark in the region as the founder of GoBerry and Provisions, businesses that have both left a positive impact on the area.

Now, Gunther and Feinstein are combining their history, skills and passion for the region as co-owners of two stores in Thornes Marketplace—Cedar Chest, which is in its 75th year and Stay Golden, nearing its one-year anniversary. 

“Together, we are committed to upholding the legacy of Cedar Chest and propelling Stay Golden to become a prominent Northampton brand,” Feinstein says. “Our vision is to further strengthen the community and empower local businesses while leaving a lasting, positive mark on the city we love.”

Gunther’s expertise is in merchandising; she has been with Cedar Chest for 13 years. Feinstein is an entrepreneur with a passion for community development. Says Gunther, “I am excited to be partnered with Alex in the venture, and I think our complementary skill sets have the strength needed to carry the businesses into the future.”

Cedar Chest is an eclectic gift store, carrying everything from home décor to stationery, loungewear, bath and body products, and holiday items. Its sister store, Stay Golden, offers primarily casual and business clothing for women along with jewelry and other accessories. 

In working together to strengthen these organizations, Gunther and Feinstein also keep the strength of community in mind. They are building relationships with other merchants and city leaders as members of the Northampton Chamber and Downtown Association. They marched in solidarity with the Northampton Pride Parade when it returned in May. And, recently, Cedar Chest offered a Give $10 Get $10 program that benefited Grow Food Northampton. 

Katie McLaughlin, marketing manager for both businesses, says, “The businesses of Thornes Marketplace also have a very special bond in that we are in a shared space, have built professional and personal friendships and support each other through the ups and downs of changing retail climates.” 

McLaughlin says Cedar Chest is known for its Clinique Bonus times, dot and sidewalk sales, punch cards and preferred customer rewards, and it will continue to be known for what’s to come. She adds, “We have plans to keep our local involvement and find new ways to engage the community and our customers through new advertising partnerships, local participation and creative store-based events.” 

Find Cedar Chest at and Stay Golden at the businesses are also online on Instagram and Facebook.