Winter can be hard on small shops.
Homewood lost one Saturday, Jan. 17, as Tessa’s Dollhouse ended a three-year run at 18046 Martin Ave.
The shop, billed as an antique children’s resale boutique, began as a place for owner Anthony Rotkovich to sell action figures from his large collection. He expanded into comic books, vintage toys, children’s clothing and children’s furniture.
Location, weather and online competition were factors in the decision to close the shop, he said.
This winter, relatively mild so far, was not the biggest blow. Last year’s long winter, with lots of snow and several extended severe cold snaps, was enough to stop the shop’s two years of steady growth, he said.
Retail shops depend on foot traffic, and bad weather tends to discourage shoppers from strolling the streets, looking and buying.
Rotkovich said his location, about a half-block south of Ridge Road, was not ideal for his type of business, either. After the steak house on the corner of Ridge and Martin closed a couple of years ago, there was less pedestrian traffic along the block.
At a “cash mob” held in December at the store, he praised the village’s efforts to bring people downtown. The family-oriented festivals held on Martin Avenue were a big boost to business, but they don’t occur frequently enough to generate steady business, he said.
He also cited online competition, especially community swap forums, for hurting the used children’s clothing market.
Tessa’s Dollhouse will remain in business, possibly in one of Homewood’s seasonal pop-up shops and in area flea markets. And Rotkovich said if he tries a retail shop in the future, he would probably focus on his core business — collectible action figures.