227 Commercial Street

227 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

227 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

This little building has loomed large for more than 30 years as a convenience store. Long ago, it was the office of the Lewis & Brown coal and lumber business. By the mid-1950s, it was the Jimi-Jak Sportswear shop. In 1957, Harold Hersh, who lived with Irving Baff at 4 Center, opened Les Beaux-Arts, changing the name the next year to Mr. Kenneth’s Mad Hats. Mad, they were; and terrifically whimsical. Edward and Judith Polay opened the Little Store in 1971. They were out of the building for six years, while Joel Ouellet operated the First Old Store, but returned in 1997 with a redesign by Adam Peck. In 2012, Valsin Marmillion and Juan Pisani transformed it, but not too radically, into Little Red, which lasted until 2014.

Update | July 2015: Rob Anderson and Loïc Rossignon, from the Canteen next door, have taken over, painted the storefront yellow, and reopened it as Happy Camper.

More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

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