Harriet Gibson’s retirement seemed to be perfect timing.
The 72-year-old owner of Harriet’s boutique in Cherry Creek had already decided to close up shop as her lease expired at the end of this year — before the pandemic hit.
“My retirement was already in the works, but it’s just too bad the pandemic slowed sales as long as it did,” Gibson said.
Gibson first opened Harriet’s in San Francisco in 1997 but moved the shop to 300 Fillmore St. in 2005 to live near her daughter and grandchildren.
The store will close on Dec. 15, and a storewide retirement sale is underway. The retail shop caters to women over 40 and offers an eclectic mix of jewelry and clothing, including hand-knit sweaters, scarves and exclusive designers.
“It’s a niche that’s not quite filled in Denver for the older woman who likes artsy and unusual clothes that aren’t a size six or eight,” Gibson said.
Since reopening in May after the pandemic shutdown, sales have been down 65 percent, according to Gibson. Most of her customers are older and don’t feel comfortable shopping in-person as often anymore.
“I sent a lot of boxes to my out-of-state customers, who shop when they come to visit their children and grandchildren in town. So, that’s what kept me going,” Gibson said.
Gibson said she has a passion for artful clothing design, personally selecting each season’s fashions in her store from small-run national companies and European designers. She also made clothes for her own label, which was exclusive to the store, in the back of the 1,200-square-foot shop.
“I moved here and didn’t really know anybody, but my customers have truly become some of my closest friends,” Gibson said. “I have at least 15 or 20 I can call and go out to eat with on a given day.”
While she’s sad to be saying goodbye, Gibson said she was relieved to be exiting during such a stressful time.
“I had been planning on traveling to California and then Europe for a couple of months, but I think I’m just going to stay home and relax until all of this lifts,” she said.