Razook's Closes Village Store
Leslie Razook, who ran the business for her father, said the decision was made because she just became tired of retail.
But the store may have been struggling to find a customer base. It offers high-end designer clothes for women.
Razook said that retail business in general has changed so much since her grandparents opened the store 87 years ago that there isn't much left for her.
"I've really sort of had it with retail," she said.
Razook's Inc., had stores in Pinehurst, Raleigh and Green-wich, Conn. Her father, George Razook, lives in Connecticut and is the owner of the businesses. Leslie Razook said running stores from that far away is difficult.
"I don't live in Pinehurst," she said. "That's one of the problems."
Razook's closed its doors for good July 28, leaving nothing but an empty storefront and a stunned downtown community. She stressed that she loves her customers.
When asked what specifically has changed about retail, Razook said that so much has changed that she didn't have time to tell the whole story but did say, for example, that vendors now want orders six months in advance.
In the old days, stores could place an order four weeks in advance, so that you could better gauge the styles that are likely to be popular for the upcoming season, she said.
Razook said that she had been struggling with the decision on whether to bring in an investor who would basically become a partner or to close the business outright. She said she was close to reaching a deal with an investor, and when that fell through, she quickly decided to close.
"I don't think it was a shock," she said. "I think people knew that I was trying to make that decision."
Yet Sherry Mortenson, who owns the business right across the street (The Faded Rose), said she didn't hear anything. She knew the building was for sale but didn't know that the store might be closing.
"It's a sad thing, I think, for the village," she said. "After 87 years, they made a statement about the quality of stores here, to some degree."
Janeen Driscoll, who is communications director for Pinehurst Resort and president of the Pinehurst Business Guild, said that the closing was sudden but that she'd heard that business hadn't been good.
"I think they had a hard time sustaining business," she said. "It's a very high-end product."
Nevertheless, she said that the loss is big for the village core. Razook's was a showcase for the village, she said. It seemed to embody the values that Pinehurst represents.
"They added to the ageless quality of Pinehurst," she said. "They epitomized what Pinehurst is all about."
The building housing Razook's on Chinquapin Road is for sale. Razook's, which has a large storefront, occupied a place of prominence in the first floor of the building.
Fiskin and Fiskin Jewelers is in the building. When contacted by phone, an employee said that the owner, Michael Fiskin, has been out with knee surgery and they haven't heard about what is going to happen.
Leslie Razook said that Clift Commercial in Southern Pines is listing the building and that it is a "gem." Her father decided to sell it because he is getting older and has time constraints that keep him from doing the necessary work on the building.
"It's a great building," she said. "We think it's the premier building in Pinehurst."
Her father wants to find a buyer who will "treasure" the building and put the necessary work in to "make it shine," Razook said.
The Business Guild is meeting Wednesday, and the Razook's building will be among the topics of discussion, Driscoll said. Another retail shop taking its place would be good, she said.
But there are other possibilities. Restaurants in the village are doing well currently, she said. A bookstore or an upscale grocery store would also be a good fit.
"There are several other businesses that are missing from our area," she said.
Mortenson said, "We hope that something good happens there. Right now it's an unknown."
Matthew Moriarty may be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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