HYDE PARK — What the Traveler Saw will close at the end of the year, owner Laurel Stradford said Wednesday.
“I’d like to stay open, but I just can’t afford it anymore,” Stradford said of her international gifts and decorations shop at 1508 E. 55th St.
Stradford said she didn't ’t get enough foot traffic in the courtyard of the Hyde Park Shopping Center to keep business humming and had little success moving the business online.
“I sold one DVD, and it was to my sister’s friend,” Stradford said of the store’s website, www.whatthetravelersaw.com.
Stradford said she looked at other storefronts that get more foot traffic on 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue, but could not afford the rents now being charged in the booming business corridors.
Stradford said she was committed to Hyde Park, so she would not consider moving the store out of the neighborhood.
“I’m devoted to Hyde Park and I know what Hyde Park needs,” Stradford said. “I’m not even interested in going somewhere else — unless it’s Istanbul.”
Stradford said she was more often taking tour groups overseas to places like Europe, Egypt and Morocco, where she worked as an event planner for Revlon before opening her store. She is taking a group of about 20 people to the French Riviera on July 5 for the Nice Jazz Festival.
Stradford said she was also considering writing a book about her family after the holiday shopping season wraps up, but none of these interests would be enough to pay the bills so she was looking for other opportunities.
Until the end of the year, Stradford will continue to host meditation circles, book signings and vision board workshops in the store.