By Chris Bavender
One year after opening, Home Couture at Clay Terrace is closing. Owner Marcia Utley said there are many reasons for the decision but the prime one is her space could be rented to another business.
“Even though I signed a contract, somewhere in the lease – that was not clear to me or my lawyer – it states Clay Terrace has the right to kick me out of my space for any reason,” Utley said. “Ultimately, I just cannot run a business knowing at any moment I could be forced to leave.”
Utley also said foot traffic hasn’t been heavy.
“I’ve learned if you’re on the end of an outdoor mall, then you’ll struggle. The money is made in the middle. People just do not like to walk nowadays,” she said. “Outdoor malls are tough, especially with the terribly long winter we had. The first quarter has been tough on businesses, particularly outdoor businesses. Being a new business, this hit my business really hard.”
The decision to close wasn’t easy, Utley said.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision for me. I’ve invested a lot of money into this dream and I feel that dream was cut too short,” she said. “(May 14th) was exceptionally tough because I had to deliver the news to my customers and consignors. I feel like I’ve let them all down, and that hurts.”
Utley and her husband plan to move to Arizona. She hopes to someday open a store similar to Home Couture.
“He has an opportunity out there for his job, so we felt this was a sign to make that leap. Until then, we’re going to launch our website so our customers will still have the opportunity to buy some unique and fun items,” she said. “I’m considering opening up there eventually. The store will be similar to Home Couture here, but less large furniture.”
The best part of her time at Clay Terrace, Utley said, has been her customers.
“I’ve loved helping them design or make decisions for their homes. This store has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, so just accomplishing it has meant the world to me,” she said. “I also loved supporting local artists. This has been the most rewarding for me.”
As Home Couture prepares to close its doors June 24, merchandise ranging from clothing to jewelry to home decor to vintage and antiques has been reduced and reductions will continue until the last day.