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Dutchess Bids Adieu to Campbell

The local lingerie shop is closing its doors March 31, but not before having a major sale.

It's a bittersweet moment for owner Melanie Starr.

It's been five years since the soon-to-be 30-year-old began a major remodel of the building to make it suitable to house her lingerie boutique. The effort took about eight months to complete and Starr opened the doors to Campbell in December 2007.

Now, because that same building changed ownership in February, she has decided to close.

"After trying to negotiate reasonable terms with the new landlord, we were unsuccessful," Starr says in an email.

Starr announced the news of the closure on March 6 and supporters of the businesswoman and her boutique poured in on facebook.

Her last day is March 31 but she is holding one last major sale and farewell party this Friday, March 9 from 5-8 p.m.

"I’m very fortunate to have such a loyal customer base who, like supporting small businesses and choose to spend their hard earn dollars where it counts," she says.

Milestones Along the Way

Starr says that she has been fortunate to have many milestones in the time she’s been open for business in the Orchard City.

The first was, of course launching a small business at the age of 25.

“It was a personal accomplishment for me,” she says.

Getting her building to the place she envisioned for her boutique was the next major hurdle for the burgeoning businesswoman.

“If anyone remembers how dated the building and the one next door to my store were… it was a huge task,” Starr says.

Starr’s husband and his family’s construction company, Interior System Service Comp did the retrofit and work on the two buildings.

But the most recent of milestones was one that started with a bra.

"Dutchess held a month-long '' for women in need," Starr says. ", all donated by local women in the community! It was such a great thing to be able to drop off that many bras to a local Woman’s organization."

What Will Be Missed Most

Starr says that there are a lot of things she will miss about having Dutchess in downtown Campbell: the location, the building and the customers.

"I personally want to thank all of my loyal friends and customers over the years," she says. "It’s because of you all that I was able to make my dream a success during the last 4+ years. Thank you!"

Her customer base, along with the building she helped design inside and out are all part of the many reasons Starr is sad to go.

“Being a business owner in such a great little town is something I will always cherish,” she says. “The city of Campbell has treated us so well since the beginning. Fellow business owners and the community as a whole have been so supportive of me and Dutchess boutique. It’s like a family here!”

Although the small business owner says she doesn't have any solid plans to reopen the boutique, nothing is out of the question.

"We are being positive and are currently exploring other options in surrounding areas," she says. "Campbell is our first choice, but I will consider other areas nearby that we feel are not too far for our customer base to travel to get the great service and selection they can count on from Dutchess Intimates."

For now, Starr is keeping a positive outlook.

"We are not looking at this as an ending, but instead a beginning-- to another chapter in life," she says.

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H. S. March 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
In their interview with the Patch Melanie said: "After trying to negotiate reasonable terms with the new landlord, we were unsuccessful," Starr says in an email. Well I'm the side that she tried to negotiate with. Acting on behalf of the new Owners, I was extremely flexible with Melanie, and actually wanted her to stay as I expressed to her personally on multiple occasions. We kept the Boutique's rent exactly the same as it had been for the entire prior year, and only asked her to reimburse us the new assessed taxes and insurance, which was already stipulated in her lease. She refused, and asked us to keep the rent exactly what it was prior to the transaction, clearly a very unreasonable demand. Your readers can now judge for themselves as to who was unreasonable. I can guarantee you it wasn't us. H.S.

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