After 23 years in downtown Sandusky, The Admiral's Daughter is closing up shop.
"The store is closing due to lack of local business," said Bryan Peitz, son of store founder Mary Ann Peitz.
Signs in the front windows of the Columbus Avenue shop announce the store's going-out-of-business sale. Peitz said the store will close around June 30.
"The economy being what it is, it is very difficult for mom-and-pop stores -- even the well-established ones," said John Lippus, director of the Sandusky Mainstreet Association.
Mary Ann Peitz opened The Basket Occasion in 1986. Around 2006, the shop moved across the street and was renamed The Admiral's Daughter.
Mary Ann Peitz said the store has been a big part of her life for the past two decades, and she's heartbroken to lose it.
"We thank our loyal customers. It's been our pleasure to serve them," she said. "We hope all the folks around here buy local."
According to city records, Sandusky City Commissioners unanimously approved an economic development loan of $45,000 for The Admiral's Daughter in October 2006.
"The timing of the closing came as both a surprise and disappointment," commission president Dennis Murray Jr. said. "I would have thought that this would have been a strong summer for them."
Murray said that when the store officially closes, the city will issue a notice that repayment of loan is due as prescribed in the revolving loan fund agreement issued by the city in 2006.
"All the money in the world is not going to bring customers into the store," Mary Ann Peitz said.
When the loan was issued, the store was in the process of reinventing itself from a basket and gifts store to a retailer of specialty women's clothing, with the gift items taking a more secondary role. Two years ago, the shop also added a gallery featuring the work of local artists.
Mary Ann Peitz said the new shop never had a chance to get its feet on the ground before the economy started to go downhill.
"The closure is permanent," Bryan Peitz said. "We may open a store again in the future, but it will not be in the local area."
All of the items in the store are 25 percent off, except for consignment items.
Lippus said the economy is affecting all business, not just the ones downtown.
"We wish that things could turn around for all of Ohio, not just us," Lippus said.