Major Owner Adds To His Harwich Port Property Portfolio
HARWICH — Dr. Gravity’s Kite Shop building in the center of Harwich Port has been sold,
and owner Peter Hurst is also planning to sell the kite shop business he has operated at the spot for the past 45 years.
“It was just time,” Hurst said.
The Dr. Gravity building is tightly packed on the lot and has an apartment above the shop. Hurst's family history is linked to the site. His father ran a hardware store before the kite shop got off the ground. The original building was removed several years ago and a new structure with an apartment was constructed. It is adjacent to Dr. Cavity’s Candy Shack, the business Hurst started a couple of years ago in the former Christian Science Reading Room after that property was purchased by Dennis E. Miller of Main Street HP, LLC. Miller is a major property owner along Route 28 in the village. He purchased the Dr. Gravity property for $540,000.
“I haven’t made up my mind at this time as to whether I’ll sell the Dr. Cavity business,” Hurst said. He said he has people who are interested in the kite shop business, but if the kite shop doesn’t sell he would likely continue to run it from the same location for another year.
People love the kite shop, he said. Three people shopping there one day last week agreed.
“This store is fantastic!” said one woman.
“It’s a really, really busy spot and a great opportunity for someone who wants to do it,” Hurst said. “It’s turnkey, everything is all set up. I hope someone buys it and carries this business on.”
Hurst said he does not know what he is going to do when he sells the business. He has a condominium in a golf community in Florida and would spend some time there improving his game.
“I’m going to miss all the wonderful people I’ve met over the years, the kids, and the people who have worked for me. I’ve met a lot of friends over time,” Hurst said. He's now meeting the children of customers who came in as kids.
“I spoke with Peter the other day and it’s sad to see Peter go,” said Harwich Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cyndi Williams. “He’s such an icon in Harwich Port. Hopefully whoever purchases Dr. Gravity will continue the legacy.”
“It’s a location, not just a building,” Miller said Tuesday. “We will continue to have a retail presence there.”
Miller said he is working with Hurst to sell the business and there are parties who are interested. Hurst owns both the Dr. Gravity and Dr. Cavity businesses while Miller owns both properties. If someone was interested in buying both businesses, Miller said he would work with Hurst to accommodate the sale.
There is a lot happening in the village currently. With the purchase of the Dr. Gravity building, Miller now owns three adjacent properties, including the Dr. Cavity’s building and The Nines Art Gallery location. Miller owns several other properties along Route 28 as well. On June 25, he purchased the building on the east corner of Route 28 and Cross Street, where the Cape Cod Associates Real Estate office was located, from the Beverly Karn Living Trust for $700,000. The building is now empty. Miller also purchased unit four at 584 Route 28 in April from Bill Lutz.
Miller also owns The Harwich Port Commons building on the east side of the Schoolhouse municipal parking lot where the new Three Monkeys Street Bar is located. He owns the Three Buoys building on the west side of the municipal parking lot entrance and the building where Murphy’s General Store is located. He has two condominiums on Sea Street. The two vacant lots across Route 28 from Cumberland Farms and the adjacent lot where Details, the Traditional Barber Shop and Cape Cod Associates are located are also owned by Miller, as is another small lot adjacent to that parcel on the west side. Nearly a year go, Miller put up a sign on the vacant lots reading: “Be Part Of Harwich Port’s Exciting Future.”
Miller said at that time he was having discussions with a potential tenant and anticipated taking initial steps over the winter to put development plans in place. He indicated at the time that the plans would include a commercial building with retail on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.
Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said on Tuesday she has not spoken with Miller in months and no plans for 575 Route 28 have been filed or discussed with her.
Miller said the COVID-19 pandemic brought the 575 Route 28 plans to a stop. With the purchase of the building on the corner of Route 28 and Cross Street, he shifted his focus to that project, he said.
He plans to do renovations to the 566 Route 28 building and has hired an architect and engineer to develop plans for retail space on the first floor and renovations for apartments on the second floor. The garage out back will be torn down and a new septic system will be installed, Miller said.
“It’s a dilapidated building and the first floor has been empty for over a year,” Miller said. “The plan is to bring it back to life.”
Once the 566 Route 28 project is done, Miller said he would turn his attention back to the vacant lots across from Cumberland Farms. The tenant he had been talking with previously is still interested in the property, Miller said, but he added that he is in no rush to develop the site.