CARBONDALE — Nest Arts, the Carbondale boutique previously called Dayshift, has closed.
Owner Chris McKinley said she was forced to shutter the business due to its lack of profitability.
“My sales have been declining for the past couple of years in general, on an annual basis, and Christmas season, holiday shopping, has also been declining for the past two years, and that’s the time of the year that I really depend on the most to be profitable,” McKinley said.
The store is located at the intersection of West Monroe Street and South Illinois Avenue near the Old Train Depot. It offered locally made art and handmade gifts.
Aside from an uptick in sales during the weekend of the total solar eclipse, 2017 has been an extremely slow year, she said.
McKinley took over the store from its original owner, Mary Lynn Schroeder, in February 2011. Over the years, McKinley has sold for over 100 artists.
“I’ve kind of built on the basic frameworks that she had set up, of having it be a marketplace for local artists,” McKinley said.
She attributed the store’s closure to a mix of problems facing the region.
“I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things … a dwindling population, tax rates being higher, perhaps, the financial landscape of the area in general with the university having problems, the city and the state having financial difficulties, and it’s just a reflection, unfortunately, I think, (of what) the area’s going through with other small businesses closing as well. There’s just not as many people here to shop,” McKinley said.
She added that the popularity of online retailers like Amazon has hurt brick-and-mortar stores.
“The thing that was special about Nest, too, is that there’s a real person behind the (product) — it was made by someone who lives here, who’s a real person with a family and who participates in the community, and to buy something that was made in a factory in Indonesia — I don’t know, to me that just doesn’t have a charm or an appeal that something does that was made by an artist that put passion and heart into it,” she said.
McKinley said she plans to have a going-out-of-business sale at the end of January after she returns from three weeks of traveling.
“It’s not going to be that much merchandise — it will be a little bit of merchandise, but it will be mainly to sell off my displays and fixtures and furniture and things like that,” she said.
She said she hopes to develop and manage an online marketplace for local artists in the future.
“I felt a sense of responsibility and loyalty to all of these people who have so much talent and don’t necessarily have a lot of avenues to sell their work, which is why I feel so passionate about having that place, and taking it away makes me feel really terrible,” McKinley said. “But I couldn’t handle the financial burden any longer, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it work for seven years and I just wasn’t able to. I hope that somebody can … I hope that someone can pick up the ball and make it work and run with it somehow.”