In recent years, a pair of month-long sales provoked by downtown Mill Valley retailers shutting their doors largely meant only one thing: the economic downturn was continuing to take its toll and had claimed more victims.
But in the latest of several recent signs of a legitimate local economic recovery, downtown clothing retailer is holding a month-long sale in January to celebrate its move from 30 Miller Ave. to a larger space and what its owners say is a more preferable location on Throckmorton.
Showroom is moving to 108 Throckmorton Ave., replacing , which is closing its retail store so that owner Yasmine McGrane can focus on array of projects related to her 9-year-old shop of French-inspired home and garden products. McGrane is holding her own month-long sale before she makes way for Showroom in early February.
“We’re thrilled at this opportunity,” said Mill Valley resident Denise Carletta, who opened Showroom with co-owner Janet Ryvin three years ago after they met through a children’s music event at the when they're sons were five months old.
For Carletta and Ryvin, the move is a simple quest for more foot traffic.
“We just felt that shoppers rarely make it down here to this end of Miller because they think it’s all restaurants once you get past ,” Ryvin said.
As they move to the slightly larger space up the street, Ryvin and Carletta are expanding their women’s clothing collection, adding a shoe shop and a selection of vintage furnishings. They’re also scrapping their men’s collection, for now, to account for their expanded focus on their women’s lines, Ryvin said.
Showroom is selling its currently inventory for 30-60 percent off starting Friday, Jan. 6, with expanded hours through the weekend. The store is closed today and will likely be closed for a few days at the end of the month before reopening in the new space.
McGrane said she struggled with her decision to close her store, which has been at 108 Throckmorton for three years and was at 11 Throckmorton for six years before that. But as her online sales became an ever-growing percentage of her total annual sales, it came down to practicing what she preaches, she said.
McGrane has planned to expand Maison Reve to include a range of new projects – from a lifestyle book via Chronicle Books and a series of one-off events - but doing so while maintaining the physical store and raising two young children was too much.
“I started this business not just to sell products but to promote this simpler, more joyful, French-inspired way of life like how I grew up,” she said. “I felt like if I kept trying to do it all that I would miss the simple moments with the kids. I could keep trying to do the store and the next big thing but then I would not be living authentically what my vision is.”
McGrane said she’ll be bolstering the Maison Reve website with more products and a blog, and she’ll utilize weekend-long Maison Reve Urban Farmhouse Living events as a way to immerse customers in the lifestyle and the products from her store.
McGrane and her husband David live with their two children Finnegan and Delphine in an 1893 Victorian farmhouse in Sausalito. Following a two-year restoration of the home, McGrane plans to make it central to her business, hosting events there where attendees can both participate in workshops and buy her products.
“It’s about getting people out of their everyday and really getting them inspired to learn and buy,” she said.
McGrane also got a casting call for a Lifetime show called Project Upscaling, a Project Runway-style series for the furniture world.
“It’s all about taking vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces, which is what we sell and reclaimed wood and putting it together in new furniture and new rooms all to inspire people to really care for the planet,” McGrane said.
She finds out if she’s made the show on Jan. 31, the same day she plans to close the store.
30 Miller Ave.
Kristi Denton Cohen, the owner of 30 Miller, said that while she doesn’t agree with Ryvin and Carletta that the space is a bad location for a retail store – she pointed to the success of Ken Brooks’ Staccato in the late 1990s – she commended Showroom’s owners for persisting through a tough economy.
“They’re not quitters,” she said.
Denton Cohen hasn’t had much luck finding the right tenant to replace Showroom. The change incited her to put the building on the market, she said, as she’d like to dig more deeply into her career as a filmmaker – her was a hit at the .
Denton Cohen has owned the building since 1988. She calls it’s the “Granny Denton Building” in memory of her grandmother, who died in a house fire in 1987 and left her granddaughter with enough money to make a down payment on the building.