“We had no problems before the economy collapsed,” LaFleur said. “The close is mainly attributed to the economy.”
Jessica Potter, a regular customer and friend of the owners, said Roulette Vintage was her favorite store.
“I would say that I shopped at the store at least once a week,” Potter said. “But what kept me coming back were Kara and Rebecca.”
The owners purchased authentic pieces from estate sales and from several local designers, many of whom still want to maintain their business and personal relationships with LaFleur and Moore.
River Takada-Capel, owner of Riverbasin Outfitters and frequent local contributor to Roulette Vintage, said in an e-mail she was interested in conducting home-based sales with LaFleur and Moore.
“I’m hoping we will do some home sales together, trunk-show style,” Takada-Capel said.
Two other vintage stores in Chapel Hill — The Clothing Warehouse and Time After Time Vintage Thrift — have also been affected by the poor economy, but serving a different niche in the vintage clothing market has helped them stay afloat.
Time After Time co-owner Steven Schrenzel said in an e-mail that prices 25 to 50 percent lower than competitors’ and 27 years of business experience have helped them to stay open.
The Clothing Warehouse operates a chain of stores across the country, but employee and UNC student Ryan Hill said the local store has experienced a drop in sales like most other retailers.
“Our vintage shops maintain operations in different ways,” Hill said. “It’s just that no one wants to buy anything in this economy.”
In an effort to adapt to the business climate, LaFleur and Moore are exploring other venues for their vintage products, such as online through their website and at private events.
The owners are also looking into buying or renting a space that they could rent for events where they would sell their clothing.
“We’re ready to do something different,” LaFleur said. “We don’t do this for the money.
“We do this because we love it.”
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