Three nearby shops close in October
Queen Anne stores facing a changing retail market
By FOREST BROWN, Staff Reporter
Published: November 28, 2012
Three local Queen Anne stores closed their doors at the end of October.
Pinkabella Cupcakes shut down on Oct. 28, and Oct. 31 was the last day for Queen Anne Books. Emmer&rye, a few doors down, also closed on Oct. 28.
The bookstore closed after its owner failed to find a buyer.
The El Diablo Coffee Company, located on 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N., is sandwiched between what used to be Queen Anne Books and Pinkabella Cupcakes.
Kelsey Heidt, who works at El Diablo, doesn’t think the coffee shop is in any danger, but she can still see the effect that three businesses closing has had on the community.
“I’ve seen a few families come by that didn’t know that [Queen Anne Books] was closed,” Heidt said. “The kids have the saddest looks.”
Heidt said some businesses come and go, but others are important to the community.
“Cupcakes are just a fad,” she said, “but Queen Anne Books has been here for a long time.”
Julietta Links, an employee at Stuhlbergs, a gift shop on Queen Anne, blames some of the difficulties of staying in business on the Metropolitan Market’s closure, which happened last summer.
“When you have businesses like the Metropolitan Market nearby, it’s a destination, so people stop by,” she said. “When businesses like that close, a lot of people are not going to come.”
Businesses closing always affects nearby businesses, Links said.
“It’s the lost clientele,” she said.
Rain Anderson, who works at the Queen Anne Dispatch, a shop that doubles as a post office, said that businesses may be closing due to high cost.
Queen Anne Dispatch celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.
Lauren Formicola, shopkeeper at Charley & May Co. and president of the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce believes that the recently shuttered businesses are not necessarily a sign of a declining market because there are several businesses opening as well.
“When businesses close, other businesses open,” she said. “You could look at the Met Market site and see an empty lot, but it’s really a whole new development, and businesses like Trader Joe’s are happy to move in.”
Formicola said that the high rent rates make it challenging for new businesses to open on Queen Anne Aveune.
“The rents vary between 3,200 and 5,500 [per month],” she said. “As a business, you need to be able to bring in enough customers to offset that cost.”
She explained that businesses have a lot of local support, but they can struggle if they fail to bring in new customers.
“I feel like you need to be flexible as a retailer,” she said. “You have to listen to what the people want.”
Formicola also explained the importance of connecting with the community.
“You have to be family-friendly,” she said. “There are fundraisers and events, like Halloween on the Hill or Holiday Magic, that many businesses are involved in.”
“You also have to be dog-friendly,” she said, as a couple came in with their dog. Formicola pet the dog and gave him a treat while conversing with the couple who stop by regularly.
Formicola said she is on a first-name basis with many of her customers, which she says helps bring the local community together.