Longtime Downtown Blacksburg business forced to close following internet competition
Another longtime business in Downtown Blacksburg will be closing up shop this month.
The owner of Mad Dog Boutique said business has been too slow to continue for quite some time.
Dorothy Lemme Egger bought the dog-friendly boutique with her daughter 14 years ago.
She was ready to lock up the doors a few years ago until residents and customers begged her not to.
She recalled, "I decided, 'OK, go ahead, you know one more try,' and unfortunately if anything, business has gotten worse."
Egger said one of her biggest problems was people viewed her shop, which she characterized as a little of everything, as only being a place that served young women.
The other big issue was competition, and not other stores downtown.
"The internet really has hurt my business tremendously," she said.
Mad Dog Boutique is following in the footsteps of the Clothes Rack, which closed in December after 34 years of business.
Another small retail shop, however, t.r. collection, actually had more than 33 percent growth in 2016.
Owner Michelle Raub said, "We have a loyal base, we stay very active with them whether it's social media, sales that we may have, special promotions."
Egger said she's worried the internet will end small town business, unless the shop has a special niche to go off of.
"You'll get to the point where small stores like mine just won't exist anymore because they can't compete," Egger said.
But Raub, whose business has been open almost a year and a half, says she thinks the downtown will be fine.
"My husband and I are looking to increase our exposure here downtown and we're looking for another location, we've run into place where we can't find a place right now," she said. "We might have some stores closing but also we have some great new businesses coming into town."
The last day at Mad Dog Boutique is at the end of the month, although Egger said she could go into early March.
Raub said she knows the old Clothing Rack location, as well as an old jewelry store and the Pita Vera location are all already leased by new owners. So while businesses seem to be leaving, she said more and more are continuing to come in.