It’s January 2013 and two more charming small shops have closed their doors in Beaverton/Raleigh Hills, Oregon. Robin & Wren Antiques & Gifts was a wonderful antique mall just a few blocks from my shop, Penelope’s Hope Chest. They had a fabulous selection of vintage clothing and jewelry, as well as many booths filled with treasures. I really enjoyed having them right down the street…we sent each other many customers. They closed their doors December 1st, 2012 after several years of business.
Tea Thyme & Lavender Vintage Antiques & Tea House is the other shop closing their doors. Their last day is January 31, 2013. Claire, the charming french shopkeeper, had a wonderful little shop, chock full of vintage treasures and a vast collection of teas you could sip while you shopped. She was open 4.5 years before she had to close her doors. It’s a true shame.
I have had several customers ask me how I am doing…since it seems like so many little shops aren’t able to make it. I answer honestly, and say that while we are holding our own, thanks to our strong, unique inventory and extremely reasonable prices, we had a rough Christmas season. I am fortunate that I have really good online sales to back up my brick & mortar shop. What I find extremely frustrating is to have customers express concern…and then leave without buying anything. While I appreciate concern…it doesn’t pay the rent.
I found it very interesting this past Christmas season, in my pop-up shop Katie’s Christmas Cottage…that a friend and I opened for the month before Christmas in the empty storefront right next to my shop. There were quite a few people who wandered in…looking for the paper shop that had closed a year and a half before. One of them acted quite upset that the shop wasn’t there anymore. Bottom line? If you haven’t visited a shop in 18+ months, you didn’t support them and you have no right to be upset that they are gone.
Here’s my personal opinion on the whole thing. People need to open their eyes and realize that thousands of small shops and restaurants are going away. If this trend continues…soon there will only be big-box stores to shop in and national chain restaurants. Is this what you want? Are you willing to let this happen? Think of a cool little shop or two in your town. How often do you visit? How often do you actually buy anything? If you don’t visit at least 5 or 6 times a year, say every other month, and spend 20 bucks or more, you aren’t supporting that business. It’s not enough to buy a $3 card every six months. Think about it…how many $3 cards does a business need to sell to just pay their rent for one month? I know I probably am not politically correct for being so upfront about this subject, but I am tired of more and more small businesses going away forever. Small businesses are the backbone of our country and the money you spend in a small business mostly stays in the community, unlike the money you spend at a national chain.
Bottom Line? Actions speak louder than words. Please support the small shops you care about….or risk having them close their doors too.
Update June 2013: Just got the news two days ago that yet another shop is closing its doors forever. Union Block Marketplace in Newberg, Oregon. It was a wonderful mix of antique mall and gift shop and it too wasn’t able to make it. Another empty storefront soon on the main street in Newberg.