(Gillette, Wyo.) "It's sad," said one woman out front, shaking her head. "Everything is closing up. The rent's too high in this town."
This week is the store closing sale for Relic no. 9, a home decor and consignment shop on South Douglas Highway that just opened in October. It's the third type of store to close in the past few months. Avenue Mall on Main Street shut its doors March 31st, the day coal layoffs started around Campbell County. Pine Country Decor & More closed its storefront on Butler Spaeth last week.
Relic no. 9 owner Renee Johnson says that the economy is partly to blame. Business was good and was building at first. She thought because sales held up through the layoffs and it was her first year, she was going to do fine.
But then people just stopped coming in. She saw an average of 60 people a day since the beginning of the year, but that took a drastic drop in May, and only 10-15 people were coming through the door. It wasn't enough.
"The rent was just too much to cover during bad times," Johnson told County 17. "I need an off the beaten path, smaller type of area."
Currently she has no plans to re-open anywhere else. When sales end at the close of business on Wednesday, she's going to pack up what's left over and hope that when the economy starts to pick back up, she can open again, maybe in a space with cheaper rent.
Just the front of the store is Johnson's inventory, the rest of the store is comprised of individual vendors consigned to sell new, upcycled, and handmade items like clothes, jewelry, and furniture. But if the economy was just part of the problem, people not knowing what exactly Relic no. 9 sold was the other.
"I put a lot of money in to to advertising, but now so many people are coming in the door saying 'I didn't even know you were here.' I thought being on the main drag, people would see us. But it still wasn't enough."
Johnson had a booth at the Home Show back in March, and that helped clear up some of the confusion. A lot of people that passed by her booth had thought the shop was a tattoo parlor or a hair salon.
"They had no idea. They figured it out at the home show, but it just didn't work out."
Relic no. 9 is at 1211 S. Douglas Highway, near the Central Square Starbucks. It's open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Wednesday, July 27th.