As a vendor at Black Rose Antiques & Collectibles at Washington Crown Center, I wanted to express my distaste at the closing of the store at the end of February.
It appears that the owners of the mall, who also own and operate the Black Rose store, felt it necessary to bring in another retailer – Marshalls – to the Washington area. Claiming it is about doing the best for their shareholders and the public (from an email I received from the vice president of corporate communications), they feel it is in the best interest for the consumer and future employment in this region.
However, the way they informed us showed no concern for either the current employees or the vendors. The employees were told approximately three weeks before Christmas that they would be unemployed when the store closes at the end of February. The vendors were kept in the dark until a short time later, when we were told they were not renewing leases after February. Most, if not all, of the nearly 100 vendors are now left scrambling in the attempt to find another venue to sell and display their items. Several go to Florida for the winter and may not even be back to move out at the allotted time. For some vendors, this is their only income. For others, like myself, it was a venue to de-clutter a relative’s house. I would ask why the mall owners feel that this is a strategic move in retail when there are already many cookie-cutter department stores in the malls compared to antique stores of such quality as the Black Rose?
Certainly, as the owner of the Black Rose, they have every right to open or close the store as they see fit. For the few years that is has been open, the public has been very supportive and many expressed how much they have enjoyed shopping there. Mall traffic has certainly helped generate an interest and increase in sales in antiques from many window shoppers as well. The convenience for both the vendors and the customer has been the best for both worlds. There were waiting lists for vendors to rent space, and several vendors recently moved in only to be told that they would need to soon vacate. The employees at the Black Rose are such a great group of people, and we are generally heartbroken because they have made it a fun place to shop and to consign.
Thank you to Black Rose patrons for your support and loyalty to the store. Shop quickly, as some of your favorite vendors may be leaving before the end of February.