It’s been 23 years for Trousers, but it’s time for owner Shelley Greenup to close up shop.
Part of the reason, at least as far as timing, had to do with the sudden downturn in the economy.
Greenup says she had been thinking about it though, and if she were younger, she’d stick it out and hopes for the best for the other younger entrepreneurs on 5th Street in downtown Courtenay.
“I don’t want to be doom and gloom because there’s so many amazing people on the street that are much younger,” she told The Record. “If I was younger, I would never do this.”
For her, it just seemed like the right time to say goodbye, as she announced on social media on March 30 she was closing the clothing store. She went on to thank all her supporters and staff over the years.
Later, in an interview, she talked about the decision.
“It’s hard to do this, but the time is right,” she said. “I call it a natural ending given the circumstances…. Maybe it’s just time to pack it up.”
She has spent most of her adult life working in the clothing business, starting when she was a young adult.
“It’s been a good run, I’ll tell you that,” she said.
When she moved to the Comox Valley to open the store, bringing in some new types of fashions to the area, people questioned her decision but she was able to persevere and the business took off.
“The town has been so supportive,” she said. “When we came here, it was the biggest risk.”
Greenup points to product lines like Roxy Quiksilver and its “surf-inspired apparel,” which she brought in, making her the place that offered something novel in the community.
“We had moved here from the city, not really knowing that there was no work happening, so we kind of have to make our own,” she said.
She’d lived in Victoria and Vancouver, but she wanted space to have a house for her family, so the Comox Valley was the family’s destination.
Pointing to the recent social media reponse she’s received, she points to customers excitedly coming in to get their first Roxy bikini. They have been loyal, and over the years, she’s found support for her business runs in families.
“I have two generations that shop here, and it’s amazing,” she said. “There’s been so many people through this store.”
She also credits the “amazing staff” she’s had over the years.
Greenup admits the response she has received since she made the announcement has been overwhelming.
Some suppliers have taken items back, but she still has inventory. She expects to be selling some of the clothing, perhaps even through some kind of pop-up operation this summer. As her Instagram says, “Taking a breather after 23 years.”
For now, she is dwelling fondly on memories from her 23-plus years in business, including the last 15 at the current location.
“It’s been a real pleasure,” she said.