A longtime hub for fashion in downtown Courtenay will close its doors at the end of August.
Sylvia Webb, owner of Sylvie’s Boutique, has decided to close her successful Fifth Street business so she can semi-retire.
“I’ve been in business 20 years and it’s just time,” Webb says of her decision, noting she’s ready to slow the pace of her life, and she will miss her many loyal customers. “I’ve had great customers, customers that have turned into friends — and just seeing them having children, and their children having children…
“I’ve had some great loyal customers and I really appreciate the business that I’ve got from them — my success is from them.”
Webb chose to close her business rather than sell it. She’s holding a closing-out sale on her women’s clothing and accessories until the end of August to clear out her product.
Sylvie’s Boutique opened in 1993 in the old Eaton’s building, and stayed there for about six years before moving to its current location at the corner of Fifth Street and Duncan Avenue.
Along with Webb herself, her shih tzu dogs have been a constant fixture in the store. Three generations of Webb’s dogs have spent their days greeting customers at Sylvie’s. Chewy was the first, then Webb got one of his offspring she named Maggie May, and she kept one of Maggie May’s puppies, called Buddha Boy.
Though Webb says she will miss the store, she says Maggie May and Buddha Boy may miss it more.
“I think they’re going to go through withdrawal,” she says with a laugh. “They hear the keys and it’s like, out the door, they want to go.”
As for Webb, she plans to spend more time gardening, putting some finishing touches on her and her husband’s home they built a few years ago and using her previous career in health care to help others.
“I’m going to volunteer at the hospital,” she says, noting she would like to help out in St. Joseph’s emergency department and possibly at The Views. “I’m going to do volunteer work because that’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Before she opened her clothing store, Webb spent 21 years working as a nurses aide and activity co-ordinator in a Victoria seniors home.
Though she doesn’t want to put in as many hours as she does owning her own business, Webb notes she already has a couple of job offers she’s considering.
Besides the desire to slow down the pace of her life, Webb says she considered the financial pressures of running a small business downtown when she decided to close her doors.
“It’s tough. It’s been tough for the last couple of years,” she says, adding Comox Valley residents should shop downtown to help it stay vibrant.
She makes a point of doing all her Christmas shopping downtown to help support the other businesses, for example.
“For downtown to survive we need to shop locally in downtown,” she says. “Businesses survive because of local people shopping locally — they don’t survive on tourism because tourism isn’t 12 months of the year.”