LIMA — A retail icon in downtown Lima is closing.
Nitza’s Ladies Boutique and Tailor Shop, famous for its window displays in the historic Metropolitan Place building on Main Street, will close this spring to make room for its neighbors, The Met.
Rather than move to a new location, co-owners Karen Barrington and Elizabeth Leis have decided to pursue new ventures: Barrington will retire, while Leis will assist with The Met’s expansion as operations manager.
“It’s bittersweet,” Leis said.
She and Barrington have been in business together for nearly 24 years, having purchased the boutique and tailor shop from its previous owners in 1995. The two have sold women’s clothing and altered school uniforms, prom dresses and wedding dresses for multiple generations of families. Advancing downtown Lima’s transformation has been a driving force for both Leis and Barrington, who say they will continue working toward that goal even as they pursue new ventures.
“We wanted to see Lima succeed and we still do,” Barrington said.
Selling downtown Lima to the residents of Lima is one of the greatest challenges to doing business here, the women said. That’s why many of Nitza’s customers come from out of town, in places like Columbus.
“When you’re the only one around, people don’t choose Lima to come shopping,” Leis explained. “They choose bigger cities to go shopping, even though they’ll sometimes come back with the very same merchandise … People will go out of town, and it’s a shame.”
Compounding the problem, Leis said, is the distance between shops. “There’s a lot of retailers here; we’re just not one right next to the other like some downtowns have,” she said.
Barrington and Leis think they’ll close the shop for good sometime in March, as the owners still have inventory to sell.
As for those iconic props that have decorated Nitza’s storefront for decades, passersby may soon see those pieces outside other local retailers in town. “We have a real connection with some of the other retailers downtown,” Leis said. While no plans are finalized yet, Leis said she expects some of those window displays will find a new home with those businesses.
Leis said The Met, also located in the Metropolitan Place, will use the Nitza’s storefront as a lounge.
“They just continue to grow and grow and really need the space,” she said.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.