Ann Arbor fashionistas have only a month left to get the latest fall trends at women’s clothing boutique Poshh, which will be closing next month after 10 years of business.
Poshh owner Wendy Batiste-Johnson recently announced that the store on East Liberty Street will close on Oct. 30. Batiste-Johnson, who said she has been contemplating the decision for a few months, is closing the shop to spend more time with her family.
“The main reason that I have decided to close is that this is our 10-year milestone, and I have two small children,” Batiste-Johnson said. “… I just really wanted to spend more time with my kids. Running a business and having a family is extremely difficult … I’ve missed out on a lot and I’d like to not miss out on anymore.”
Poshh opened in 2001 when Batiste-Johnson moved to Ann Arbor with her husband, a University alum, and took note of the need for more retail stores in the downtown area.
“I’ve always had a love of fashion, but for me it was a desire to bring something new to the Ann Arbor area,” Batiste-Johnson said. “I was 22 years old, and I decided to take a risk, and the risk paid off for me.”
While Batiste-Johnson said the recent lack of foot traffic on East Liberty has affected her boutique, she noted that the support of locals and University students has allowed her to stay in business.
“We’ve been very fortunate in having a long-lasting business that has been supported by not only the University, but by the surrounding areas,” Batiste-Johnson said. “We’ve had a wonderful connection with our clients, and because of that, our clients stay loyal to us.”
While she has watched East Liberty transform over the past 10 years as stores moved in and out of the area, Batiste-Johnson said she believes cooperation among the businesses on the street could help improve sales.
“I think it’s really important for all businesses to work together as a team to ensure the stability of their community. It’s our community — it’s not just one store for themselves,” she said. “My hope is that businesses would do as such or do it more so there could be a larger attraction to the area.”
Catherine Berlucchi, manager of Allure Boutique on East Liberty, said the closing of Poshh doesn’t come as a surprise.
“I was not surprised because I know her on a personal level as well, and I know she has small kids that she wants to be with all the time,” Berlucchi said.
Berlucchi added that the closing of Poshh could either increase her business, as Poshh’s customers will be looking for a new boutique, or decrease it as foot traffic in the area may go down with the closure of Poshh and Borders. The East Liberty Street Borders — a 37,000-square-foot area — closed last week.
While Batiste-Johnson said she doesn’t know what business will fill Poshh’s spot, Berlucchi said she hopes to see another retail store in the East Liberty location.
“I think Ann Arbor (residents need) another nice clothing boutique to go to,” Berlucchi said. “I would like to see another retail spot go in there — women’s or men’s.”
Batiste-Johnson said Poshh customers can expect mark downs and eventually a store-wide sale during the shop’s last month of business. Though she is sad to leave Poshh’s customers, Batiste-Johnson said she has no regrets since owning and developing her business was so satisfying.
“(Poshh) has been my life, and it has probably been the most rewarding 10 years of my life,” she said. “There are no regrets where I’m concerned, and I’m just so happy that we had the opportunity to service the Ann Arbor community and the surrounding cities the way we have. We’ve had a wonderful following — I wouldn’t have lasted 10 years if we had not.”
LSA freshman Laurel Ruza, who has shopped at Poshh, was surprised to hear of the forthcoming closure.
“I’m really taken aback,” Ruza said. “I thought it was a really popular store. I’m from West Bloomfield, Mich., and everybody there talks about Poshh. It’s the place to be.”
However, Ruza added that she often shops at chain stores like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters located nearby Poshh in the East Liberty area.
“If I go shopping, that’s usually where I head to,” Ruza said. “Some of the independent stores like Poshh are really cute and off-the-beaten track, but I stick mostly to the chain stores.”