#6 Most Viewed | Fairhaven clothing boutique closing after 10 years in business

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This article was originally published on May 14, 2015.

By Oliver Lazenby
The Bellingham Business Journal

Four Starrs Boutique, a men’s and women’s clothing and accessories store in Fairhaven, is closing after 10 years in business. The store, at 960 Harris Ave., Suite 101, next to Sirena Gelato, will close on June 12.

Owner Danielle Starr said several things led to her decision to close the store.

Sales at the store have declined in the past several years, deliveries have been coming in late because of the West Coast port slowdown and she wanted to spend more time with her family, she said.

“Retail is not what it used to be,” Starr said. “Traffic is down, sales are down.”

Four Starrs won a Best of Bellingham award in 2006. A lot of Starr’s original customers are now married and have kids and aren’t spending as much money on themselves as they used to, Starr said, and she hasn’t attracted enough younger customers.

Starr also had a location on Bakerview Road that closed last year and a Bellis Fair Mall location that closed a couple years ago.

“Businesses have a shelf life in terms of buzz,” Starr said. “Maybe ours was up.”

Starr got bacterial meningitis a couple years ago. She’s now recovered, but the illness changed her priorities and she wants to spend more time with her husband and two kids, she said. She works six days a week and averages 60 hours of work per week, she said.

Starr made the decision to close earlier this year when she found out the space her boutique occupies is for sale. She decided she’d rather close the shop than try to keep the business alive through a move.

Starr said she’s looking forward to spending more time with her family after closing the shop and she has a vacation planned – something she hasn’t done in years.

Starr and her staff are working to sell remaining inventory, which is currently 20 percent off. The boutique will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sundays from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m., until it closes on June 12.

Starr said closing the business feels like losing a piece of herself. While running the store for the last 10 years she held successful fashion events, spoke at events for Whatcom Community College and Whatcom Women in Business, and helped start Project BHAM, an organization that promoted local businesses and retail events.

“I’ve been able to do good things for the community,” she said. “Things that I never thought I’d do, I have done.”

Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or olazenby@bbjtoday.com

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