When one door closes, another door opens. Dahlia Room, Buxom, Fellow Shop, Uintah Standard, & CG Sparks.
The brick & mortar dilemma
The Dahlia Room, sassy adult boutique on Broadway closed their brick and mortar shop on Nov. 20, but will continue online at thedahliaroom.com. Even with a devoted regular client base, The Dahlia Room’s brick and mortar shop was not proving profitable. C.G. Sparks, a modern eclectic furniture store, is also counting down until their last day, Dec. 23. They, too, are moving strictly to online at CGSparks.com.
“Retail in Salt Lake is not what it used to be. [Patrons] need to take an active role in promoting their favorite retail shops,” says Jennifer Fei, owner of the Dahlia Room, who will continue her business at various pop-up shops and sex education classes in addition to her online store. It has been a tough year for brick and mortar shops, who often find their online businesses becoming much more successful than their physical stores. Such was the case with Tempest Couture, the 1300 South/900 East boutique; they also moved to solely online earlier this year.
Buxom, fashion-forward plus size boutique also closed up shop on Broadway late October. They plan to re-open in a different location in 2016. Their Broadway location did not pan out, although their online business at ShopBuxom.com and their Instagram accounts are quite popular.
They say when one door closes, another door opens. Buxom’s space has already been re-inhabited by a local lifestyle co-op, Uintah Standard + Fellow Shop. Uintah Standard is the flagship store of the Utah-inspired Uintah Collection, a line of colorful yoga and active wear. Fellow Shop is a delightful women’s clothing and lifestyle shop.
Co-owners Hannah Montgomery (Fellow) and Heather Carlos (Uintah) began as next door neighbors in the Victorian house on the corner of 600 South/700 East. They transitioned to a co-op, and have quite a different mindset towards the brick and mortar/digital dilemma.
Fellow Shop is strictly brick and mortar as of now, says Montgomery, who has always dreamed of owning her own shop on Broadway and admits to preferring a tangible shopping experience; when you can touch items and see it all arranged together in the store. With a shop of so many vintage and handmade trinkets, skincare, clothing and jewelry tastefully displayed, it’s easy to see her inspiration behind the store. Montgomery, a millennial, also admits to “the funny old grandma aspect” of herself that isn’t drawn to the online side of the retail business.
“Maybe I’ll look back next year and think differently.” For some, digital is the way to go, and for others, the digital side can’t capture the experience they aim to create with their brand. It’s safe to say, the retail market in Salt Lake has changed, and will continue to do so, as key factors such as the economy, social media, and ecommerce evolve.
Uintah Standard + Fellow Shop: 209 E. Broadway