— SB Hopper (@sbhopper8) February 5, 2018
Michelle Conley is at peace with the end of her storefront after seven years on Broadway. She would like the neighborhood and her customers to be at peace with the end, too.
“It’s not just one reason. It’s all the factors that Seattle is going through,” she told CHS Tuesday morning about the coming closure of the Mishu Boutique, one of the rare independent retail shops still operating on Broadway.
Mishu will shutter its Broadway doors for good by the end of February. In the meantime, everything must go.
Conley was reluctant to talk about the closure — but not because she is ashamed of her business struggles or leaving Broadway. “I don’t want to sound bitter,” she said. Broadway, for a time, was very good to Mishu and its focus on unique, urban fashion. When it opened on Broadway next to the Vivace walk-up in 2010, Mishu was expanding from its Fremont start and the business saw a lot of fun and success, Conley said.
But, of course, life changes. The challenges of building a small business in Seattle add up. Conley said she closed her first store while she was still pregnant. Now her daughter is a toddler and Conley is ready to close the Broadway location to focus on Mishu’s online business and its warehouse and storefront in Everett.
“My daughter is two and a half and I wonder if stores are going to be some retro moment for her,” she said.
Broadway owners have been bracing for lease renewals as the opening of Capitol Hill Station has renewed commercial interest in the street. EuroPub shuttered earlier this year after its owner said he balked at a proposed 31% jump in rent. Retail challenges, though, go well beyond Broadway. In recent weeks, the Seattle location of men’s fashion chain Killion quietly cleared out after around two years of business in new construction on Harvard Ave.
Mishu customers won’t have far to go to revisit the shop. “People will follow us in Everett,” Conley said. “If they don’t come up, they’ll buy from us online. They’ll see us at festivals.”
The soon to be former Broadway shopkeeper is ready to move on.
“People come in now and say, ‘I’m so sorry,'” Conley says. “I’m like, ‘Why?’ I’m looking at the future.”
You can learn more — and keep shopping — at mishuboutique.com.
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