The owners cite the same reasons. They’re tired. They want a break or want to retire after more than a decade of the daily grind of running their own businesses.
Neither is going away entirely. Both stores plan to have an online presence.
Bear Creek Gifts is already well into its clearance sale. Saturday is its last day.
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Larry and Pat Grossi have run the store facing Fourth Street in Clovis for nearly 19 years. They sell furniture and decor with that cabin feel, like metal wall hangings and Christmas ornaments with images of bears and wolves. (For the record, bears far outsell wolves.)
“Pat and I have been working six, seven days a week,” Larry Grossi says. “It’s just time. It’s time to slow down and enjoy life.”
Larry, 76, and Pat, 75, have had an online store for a while now and will continue it after taking a break of six months or so.
“You definitely noticed that the online sales have been increasing, but nevertheless, it was just our time” to retire, he says.
Bella Bead Boutique on Blackstone Avenue just south of Herndon Avenue has sold beads, jewelry supplies and rhinestones that can be attached to flip flops, for example, for 12 years. The owners are clearing out their merchandise with a sale and plan to close the brick-and-mortar store when its lease expires at the end of July, says Jamie Muller.
She started the store with her mom, Joanne Sieloff. Bella Bead has just four employees, including themselves.
“Our lease was coming up,” Muller says. “Three of the employees are older. They’ve just decided that they’ve wanted to enjoy this next phase in their lives.”
The store has about 10,000 customers in its database. Muller says she plans to open an online store carrying merchandise that’s hard to find locally like Swarovski crystal beads and flat-backed rhinestones.
Customers can keep an eye out for a private Facebook selling group that will precede the online store’s web page.
Unlike some retailers that close abruptly, Bella Bead and Bear Creek’s customers have time to say goodbye.
Bella Bead’s Facebook page is sprinkled with comments from customers saying how sad they are that the store is closing and wishing the staff well.
“This past week and a half has been extremely hard on us, because of seeing it through our customers’ eyes,” says Muller.
Both she and Grossi from Bear Creek expressed an appreciation for customers they’ve met over the years.
“It’s been very gratifying,” he says. “It’s been a very wonderful experience. Just thank you, thanks for the opportunity.”