In a recent interview with owner Ted Hochheiser of Annie*s on Pleasant Street, we discovered a collection of eclectic artist-made artwork and jewelry and learned some fun facts about the longtime Newburyport business owners. Read the Q&A to find out more about the Hochheisers…
Q: Where does the name of the store originate? How long have you been in business?
A: In 1992, Ted and Kate Hochheiser opened a tiny storefront store called ANNIE*S in Rockport, MA. They soon moved to a larger location and in 1998, they opened the Newburyport shop. By the way, the shop was named after their oldest daughter, Annie, who still helps out her parents at the shop.
Q: Annie’s has unique and eclectic pieces; where do you source them?
A: ANNIE*S sells hand-crafted jewelry and assorted gift items from local and nationally-known artists working in the United States and Canada.
Q: Are you from Newburyport originally? If not, what encouraged you to open a store in Newburyport?
A: We’re originally from New York. We moved to Boston in the 80’s and then came north. We always enjoyed visiting Newburyport, so when the opportunity to open a shop there presented itself, we didn’t think twice.
Q: Have you always had a passion for art and jewelry?
A: Not sure passion is the word. However, we discovered early on that we both shopped at stores offering fine American crafts. One of the many things we have in common.
Q: What is unique about your store that is different than any others?
A: Besides the collections we offer from individual artists and small “mom and pop” companies, we actually encourage people to touch and play with the merchandise in the shop.
Q: Besides being a business owner, do you have other special talents?
A: Kate volunteers as an English as Second Language teacher. According to Ted’s children, his only special talent is being a nuisance.
Q: What do you love doing in your free time?
A: Kate enjoys cooking, baking, reading mysteries, and getting outside to hike, bike, and run. Ted likes to kayak, walk, and listen to The Rolling Stones at maximum volume.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Newburyport?
A: Spend time with friends and go to Plum Island.
Q: What advice would you give to a young aspiring business owner?
A: Get a job on Wall Street and retire early!
Q: Do you have a mentor that helped you get to where you are today?
A: Our previous work experiences combined with common sense are what helped us most.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
A: It sounds cliche, but we’re most proud of our children.
Q: What is the most interesting thing about yourself?
A: We don’t normally talk about this, but since you ask, we’re very close to the Queen of England. We have her cell number on speed dial.
Q: What are you goals for the future?
A: To get there!