Tuesday, February 21, 2017
[Image via Facebook]
After 20 years at 543 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, Love Shine is closing up shop at the end of March, moving to an online-only operation.
Owner Mark Seamon, a visual artist and former chef, officially launched his business in 1996. He opened the storefront and studio the next year to sell his line of handmade bags, accessories and gifts.
We reached out to Seamon for more on the upcoming closure.
"Our lease is expiring at the end of March. The best deal we could negotiate with our landlord was a 25-percent increase with additional yearly increases," he said via email. "While we absolutely love our location, and live right down the block, the foot traffic isn't really the best for a retail store. We couldn't afford to move to an avenue and now we can't afford to stay here."
He continued: "When we first opened in 1997 it was possible to open a mom-and-pop shop in the East Village because the overhead was low and the neighborhood was filled with creative people, artists and designers. There was a large availability of affordable spaces to rent. I really think the development of the neighborhood, change in demographics, along with the enormous rents and the rise in online shopping, have made it really difficult to sustain a small retail shop."
Despite the changes, he doesn't have any plans to move away.
"The positive news is the East Village has always been our home," he said. "Our studio/workshop will be in the hood. We have our own unique line of bags and designs, and while we continue to invest in our online shop, we hope to be able to maintain a presence here at local craft fairs and markets and possible some other local stores."
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