Customers from all over are heading to Clintonville to say goodbye to SoBo Style. Here's why
When one customer got her email last Friday saying SoBo Style was closing, she immediately drove to the Clintonville shop-from Akron. Others came from Athens and Indiana. And enough arrived from around Central Ohio that on Saturday, there was a line out the door for three hours, as shoppers braved rain for one last trip to what was, to many, their favorite store.
"I just can't believe the outpouring. It was a sob fest," said owner Katie Palmer. "I did totally what I wanted to do, and just put my heart and soul into it. My dad always said, 'You created a monster.' I would say, 'It's a good monster, Dad.' "
After 14 years, the popular decor and gift shop is closing its doors on Sunday, Jan. 11. (Palmer had planned to stay open for most of January, but customers nearly cleared out the store in two days.)
Despite increasing sales every year since it opened,Palmer, 49, said it's simply time for her to do something different. "At this point in my life, I want to give back to the community," she said. "I'm turning 50. It's just time for the next chapter."
We talked shop reflection with her this week.
On customers: I remember when they were pregnant, and now their kids are taller than me. I remember what their husband bought them for Christmas last year, so, "No, she already has that, why don't you get her something else?"
On their most popular item: Our signature window-pane cabinets-the ones we made out of old salvage pieces. That was our bread and butter.
On the evolution of Clintonville, where Palmer also lives: It's justbeen awesome to see the changes and the progress and the new stores and the restaurants. It's just super cool to see. I hope that we've drawn people to Clintonville for sure. They used to say, "I'm going to SoBo." Now they say they're going to Clintonville. And that's because of all the new businesses that appeared.
On her father, who helped often at the store before passing away two years ago: He loved going out and finding stuff. He loved the treasure hunt. He loved when people bought things that he found and fixed up. They (he and her mom) just supported me from day one.
On what she will miss the most: The customers for sure. The social interaction with them.
On what she will miss the least: I will be writing my book! [laughing] But 99 percent good things.
On her initial goal: I just thought I was going to open up a little shop and sell some stuff. It just became this huge things that I could never, ever have dreamed of.
On reaction to them closing: Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how people felt about the store.
-Kristy Eckert, @kristyeckert