After nearly 20 years, Barbara's Hallmark Shop on Market Street is going out of business at the end of the month.
"Our landlord sent us a letter asking us to vacate because he had other plans for the building," co-owner Barbara Hestand said Thursday. "That's what initiated it, but we had given it some consideration anyway."
Barbara and her husband, John Hestand, have owned the neighborhood Hallmark Gold Crown at 805 Market St. store for 19 years.
When a store such as Barbara's relocates, Hallmark requires the store to be updated, which would have been expensive.
"We are getting older, and we looked at each other and thought, 'Does this make good business sense for us to invest and update?'" she said. "And at our age and in this economy, we decided the answer was no."
Their landlord is Milad Dabit, who also owns Georgios Menswear, 704 Market St.
Barbara said she doesn't think Dabit realized that it would be a hardship for her to move the store.
And Dabit said Thursday afternoon that he isn't exactly sure what will go in place of the Hallmark, but it may be Kameel Master Stitch, which is currently located at 737 Market St.
Kim White, president and CEO of downtown economic development organization River City Company, and her team have been working to grow downtown business. She isn't sure an alteration store is best-suited for that Market Street space, she said.
River City leaders have recently recruited Mike and Taylor Monen, operators of Urban Stack and Taco Mamacita, to open Community Pie at 850 Market St.
And that area of Market Street has recently undergone a business shuffle.
Over the summer, Market Street Tavern—which was on the corner near Miller Plaza at that time—moved across the street where ZarZour’s Eats and Jackie's Treats used to be located. And ZarZour's closed.
Market Street Tavern's second location has since closed and, Michael Robinson—who also co-owns Brewhaus, a German restaurant located on the North Shore—opened Fork & Pie Bar at 811 Market St. next door.
Former owner of Market Street Tavern Aaron Long couldn't be reached for an update about that space.
The building that used to house downtown nightclub 807 Fire and Ice, which is next door to Hallmark, will soon be a Cuban cigar bar called Oye & El Jefe Cigars Restaurant and Lounge. A sign on the outside of the building says it will open in the spring.
According to the Oye Facebook page, the business will be a restaurant downstairs and a "1950s gangster cigar lounge" upstairs, where there will be a walk-in humidor.
The owners will focus on authentic Cuban food at the restaurant, also according to the Facebook page.
White said she and her team tried to work to keep the Hallmark store in place on Market Street.
The alteration business—and other service businesses—are better-suited for side streets, White said.
White and her team see opportunities for new business development, possibly in the former Market Street Tavern space or the Hallmark space.
"We would like to see another card shop or something that is true retail," she said. "[Blair Waddell, retail recruiter for River City Company,] is working on getting the right thing over there. Community Pie is going to bring so many people down here."