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Carol & Company leaving downtown, moving outside Hagerstown's City Center

April 27, 2012
  • Outside Carol & Company sits a sign encouraging people to shop at small businesses on November 26th. Carol & Company is moving from downtown March 29.
File photo

Another downtown shop is closing its doors this weekend and moving to a new location outside Hagerstown’s City Center.

Carol and Company, at 25 W. Washington St., is packing up and moving to the Longmeadow Shopping Center on Leitersburg Pike (Md. 60), owner Kelly Renner said Friday.

The retail gift shop, which carries decor items, handbags, fashion accessories and more, will remain open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then will close for good at the downtown location.

It will join more than 10 businesses that have left the downtown in the past year. Some closed due to a lack of business while others did so well they needed more space.

R. Bruce Carson Jewelers, Potomac Bridals, Spirit of Lotus Tea Co. and L&L Classic Clothing all have moved some or all of their operations.

“I think it’s just the reluctance of the city and the EDC to really open their eyes and realize there’s a problem” downtown, Renner said in a telephone interview when asked why the shop was moving.

Renner took over the shop last May and has been vocal about her displeasure in dealings with the city.

Renner said that it’s been difficult setting up meetings with city officials, and that she has received “attitude” from them when they would come into the store to address concerns.

Asked about Renner’s claim, city Community & Economic Development Director John Lestitian said, “We wish them the best in their endeavors and the city continues to support all of the businesses, even those in new locations within the city of Hagerstown.”

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II called the city’s interactions with Renner a “rocky marriage” in downtown Hagerstown.

“The city can only do what they can do,” he said. “The city tried to answer all their needs, but apparently it wasn’t enough for them.”

After moving and getting the new store set up on Sunday and Monday, Renner said the company would reopen for business in the shopping center Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The city this week issued a zoning certificate for the new location at 1529 Potomac Ave.

Other stores that have left Hagerstown’s downtown or closed their doors are Maggie's Hang-ups, Basketful of Gifts, The Figurehead II, The Boutique LLC and Lena's of Hagerstown.

At the same time, a couple of new businesses have opened up downtown, including SPIN, a restaurant and nightclub on South Potomac Street, and Jassmin Coffee at Public Square.

According to the Polk Business Directory, Carol and Company has been a mainstay in downtown Hagerstown since 1985, city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said.

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— C.J. Lovelace

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