On December 23rd, Urban Stitch Boutique will close its doors after four years of running a second-floor shop overlooking the corner of 17th Street and Broadway.
Owner Alanna Rayford told Hoodline that major shifts in the downtown shopping scene were the primary reason. “My customers are night and day from when we started," she said.
When she opened in 2013, the neighborhood character was "still very DIY, still very mom and pop," she said, but that clientele has since drifted away.
Rayford said changes in the neighborhood’s real estate landscape also weighed heavily in her decision to close, adding that “this imaginary line of ‘market rate’ that we haven’t reached" is creating economic stress that's "pushing local businesses out, and I am not the only one.”
Although Urban Stitch opened its 1800-square-foot shop in 2013, Rayford has been a part of Downtown Oakland’s merchant community for more than seven years. As a founding member of the retail collective Oakland In the Black, Rayford has borne witness to Downtown's myriad changes.
“You sacrifice volume for experience," she said, reflecting on her time as a merchant in the area. "The [people] who come through regularly, they have really good experiences and they keep you motivated and they keep you driven.”
When asked about her future plans, Rayford replied, “I will always be an entrepreneur.”
Urban Stitch is saying goodbye to customers with a "customer appreciation mixer" on Saturday, December 16th from 7-10pm. According to a note on the shop's Facebook page, Rayford said the event is intended to "help embrace transition and celebrate growth."
Urban Stitch is located on the second floor at 1635 Broadway on the second floor and is open daily from noon to 7pm.
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