Substance owner Christina Getachew shares her favorite store moments
Short North boutique Substance, which has sat at 783 N. High Street since March 2006, is closing its doors.
Owner Christina Getachew announced today that she's decided to close in order to spend more time with her husband and two daughters. The store will remain open until mid June and will offer plenty of discounts between now and then. Watch the Substance Facebook page for more info.
We talked with Getachew about some of her more memorable moments at the store and the best thing about owning a small business in Columbus.
-Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek
Favorite customer moment:
This was a customer who became a friend, but [the interaction] helped to shape the way I approach working with customers in my store and our approach to sustainable fashion. It was a day when we just got a new shipment in of great pants, and they were just a cargo, casual pant. We had them in three colors, and this customer loved it and so she said, "I'm going to get them in two colors." And I said, "You know what? No, you just need one pair. You don't need to get two or three of the same pants." And she was like, "Wow." Because I know she could have spent more that day, but I felt like personally, I wouldn't want two of the same pant. And in the end, she became a regular custumer and respected the decision. It really stood out to me, and I described that to my associates.
Craziest thing a customer has ever said to you:
This was to one of my associates. We had a customer who wanted to buy this leather vest that had a collar on it, but she wanted to wear a shock collar with it and have it still work if the collar was closed, so she tried it on under the vest and asked us to push the button to make sure she could still feel it under the vest.
Favorite employee moment:
We did have an associate get proposed to at the store. I was with her fiancée in setting up the surprise. It was probably 2008. He had a limo, and her mom was there. It was special.
Favorite Substance moment overall:
There's been a lot of those. We had a grand opening with the public and another with just my family, and any small business owner can understand that your family is your first huge support. When I invited my extended family to this opening, it was incredible. It was chaos, and it was awesome. It was just a flurry of shopping for hours, and they basically cleared out the store. I think that really propelled me for the next few years into the recession knowing I had this backbone in my family.
Best thing about owning a store in Columbus:
The small business community, especially in the Short North. You're part of this very unique club of innovative small businesses that are doing excellent things in food and fashion and really getting on the map. I'm going to miss being in a place that's getting the kind of exposure it is nationally.
Most challenging thing:
Getting through that recession in 2009 and having to cut my staff from three full-time to one full-time and part-time positions.
What's next for her:
Primarily my focus is on my kids and my husband. I feel like the last eight years I've had the two stores, and I've not been able to be as present with my family, so I just want to take a step back and really pay some close attention to them. We're moving to South Carolina, and I'll primarily be getting everyone acclimated to our new community.