Katherine Dyon opened Katie B's, 3715 N. Southport Ave., six months ago in the former Petite Feet shop, a children's shoe store that Dyon ran with her mother.
Petite Feet had been on the street for nine years, with a lot of thriving business and good customers, she said.
But about four years ago, Dyon and her family noticed a change in the locals visiting the store. Petite Feet regulars moved away, and many of the new residents had a "snobby" or "privileged" attitude, she said.
"Things just completely changed," Dyon said. "I literally could write a book on the stories that I have."
People have thrown shoes at employees when told the store didn't carry a size. One mother did nothing to stop her son when he pulled down his pants and peed on a rug. Another mother recruited her 10-year-old to join her in yelling at employees.
A woman claiming to be a lawyer "went crazy" after the store wouldn't let her return an item after 30 days, Dyon said. The supposed attorney then stood outside the store for a while and told people not to come in.
And to make matters worse, people weren't buying enough shoes, she said. Parents would come into Petite Feet to have their children's feet fitted, only to tell Dyon and employees that they planned to buy the shoes online instead.
Dyon's mother quit.
"People are rude. Nasty," Dyon said. "Nobody appreciates anything. We're tired of being yelled at. We're tired of being treated like slaves. That's it. It's nasty over here."
Dyon initially continued in retail with Katie B's thinking that focusing on clothes and toys instead of shoes would make more money and minimize some of the rudeness issues.
But six months and a bad holiday season later, Dyon's done. She is "tired of hearing their crap," she said of Southport locals.
Local businesses are hurting because residents don't support them, she said, and rude incidents still happen at least once a week. She's heard fellow business owners tell similar tales, she said.
"Not making money and being treated like crap doesn’t work," she said.
Dyon, now pregnant with a second child, will be focusing on being a mom with her husband in Michigan, where she now lives.
Everything in the store will be 50 percent off until the store closes in a couple weeks, and all shoes are $10. Store decorations are also up for sale.