Gadgets sold to 2 staffers

Sandra Storey

The locally owned housewares store Gadgets was sold to two of its employees on March 19. Owner Robyn Michaels, who moved from Jamaica Plain to Cape Cod a little over four years ago, sold the 12-year-old business at 671 Centre St. to Douglas Witte and Rose Sargent.

“I’m thrilled that the store will continue to be part of the JP Center landscape, and I know it is in great hands,” Michaels said in an interview.

She praised the new owners and staff member Nancy Gutierrez. “I am incredibly grateful to them for their great work and kindness,” she wrote in an e-mail.

In interviews this week, Witte, who has worked at Gadgets for nine years, and Sargent, who has worked there for two, said they are excited to be the owners now.

“It feels like I’ve taken on a risk,” Witte said, “but it’s nice to be in charge and not just an employee.”

Sargent, who grew up in JP and still lives here, said she felt like it was time to “make a commitment” to a career in retail, which she has worked in for 10 years.

The new owners said they will make some changes to the merchandise in the store, adding some new lines of products. And, though the store will still be “well-stocked,” according to Witte, it will not be quite as crowded as in the past.

Michaels said she and her wife, Joanne Goodman, moved to Harwich on the Cape when her wife’s struggle with cancer became critical. After her wife’s death, Michaels continued to live there, managing the store from a distance and working as a Realtor.

Michaels, who was president of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association in the early 2000s, said in a written statement, “It’s been a wonderful adventure creating and growing Gadgets and an even more wonderful experience getting to know so many people who live, shop and work in JP.”

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