Longtime Shepherdstown boutique Sky'skys the Limit has closed its doors after 21 years in its German Street location.
The decision to close one of Shepherdstown's longest running shops has left owner, Diane Ferren, "heart broken."
"This is a very emotional break up for me," she said.
Ferren said she originally opened Sky's the Limit as a place to sell jewelry she crafted herself at her kitchen table. Sky's the Limit is one of six retail shops Ferren has owned and operated in various locations around the area, including Harpers Ferry.
A second Sky's the Limit location was opened in Frederick, Md. about eight years ago, and Ferren said that the decision to close the flagship Shepherdstown store marks the end of one chapter in her life.
"With the intention of a simpler life, I am downsizing to one store, in Frederick, Md., at 200-A North Market St. I want to focus on my inner life, yoga practice, community service and my family," she said in a statement to the Chronicle.
Hoping for an upswing in sales that the store never saw, Ferren said she has spent the past three years agonizing over whether or not to close the Shepherdstown shop.
"Our sales peaked in 2002, and have declined 10 to 15 percent per year since then," she said.
Ferren went on to say that she thinks the entire Shepherdstown business community has seen a downturn in fortune as the town's 'vibe' has changed.
"Part of me believes that Shepherdstown got "too-big-for-its-britches" during the real estate bubble..." she said.
"Why would we think that our 'Main Street' is more appealing with real estate, lawyers and accountants' offices, replacing the unique and unexpected little stores, shops and boutiques?"
In a phone interview this week, Ferren says she gives credit to shops like the German Street Market Coffee and Candlery and Dickinson and Wait Craft Gallery, for their longevity in the face of economic challenges, and said she plans to keep shopping at all of Shepherdstown's long running and newer businesses.
Michael Taylor, of Mill-Run Partnership owns the building Sky's the Limit resided in and said he's disappointed to see the store go.
It's really kind of a sad thing," he said.
"My daughters are really sad it's going," he said explaining that his daughters liked to shop at the women's apparel and jewelry store during the holidays.
Taylor echoed Ferren's remarks noting a slow down in business for the town in recent years.
"Business in general has dropped off in town," he said.
Taylor said the building will remain vacant for now as he looks for new renters.
"I hope something comes soon," he said.
For her part, Ferren said she hopes the space is used as the venue for a new retail business.
"You can't keep a downtown vibrant without retail," she said.
"I hope that town turns around."
Those still interested in finding items sold at Sky's the Limit can visit the Frederick, Md. location or shop online at the stores web site, www.shopsilversky.com.