LAKEVIEW — After nearly four years of bringing local designer's wares to Southport, Cerato Boutique is shutting its doors forever at the end of month, the owner said.
Owner Tracey Glibowski, 39, said she'd stay forever if she could, but the past few months have been "rough" for the business.
The boutique at 3451 N. Southport Ave. was just not making enough money.
"It's taken a while to even talk about it," she said. "It's your baby. I put so much into this. It's sad."
Glibowski formerly worked as an account manager in advertising. Her love for fashion, branding and local designers pushed her to open Cerato.
When it first opened, 80 percent of inventory was from local designers, she said.
Many along Southport have worried that the climate is no longer suitable for small businesses, but Glibowski said she didn't think it was just the rising costs on the street.
Her contacts at the national level tell her boutiques are struggling everywhere, and that it's simply a tough climate for retail, she said. Knowing that people looked to her as a small business on Southport made the decision to close particularly difficult, she said.
"That was the hardest part," she said. "You feel like you're letting people down. I had to do the best thing for me and the business side of it, even though there's so much personal to it."
The space is now being advertised for lease by landlord L3 Capital, a company that's been buying up properties in the corridor.
Cerato will shut its doors on April 30. Until then, everything — from clothes to fixtures — are on sale. Spring items are 20-30 percent off, and other items are up to 90 percent off.
Glibowski will be returning to advertising, taking opportunities she's had to turn down while the store was open. She's not sure if she'll open another store.
"I made my dream a reality for four years, and it was amazing," she said. "It’s a difficult business to sustain in this economy is really the bottom line."