The fragile downtown economy in Berryville is losing a longtime retailer as Gold Leaf Gifts closes on January 15th. After two years in their current location on West Main Street the iconic Berryville gift shop will close its doors as owner Betty Racer consolidates the operation with her Winchester store. Citing economic pressure and a disappointing Christmas season, Betty said she will close on January 15th in order to pack and prepare for the move. “Christmas this year was down. Typically customers will splurge a little at Christmas but consumers seemed to be very cautious about spending this year.” The economic realities of small town Main Street economies have forced the small business owner to adapt. “We will be relocating to another shop we have in Winchester called Christmas Treasures. Economically it no longer makes sense to have two locations anymore and we will be moving there February 1st.”
For many years the store was located in the Coiner Building on East Main Street across from Rose Hill Park. Two years ago the store was forced to move from that location and landed on West Main Street. Unfortunately that move coincided with the beginning of some of the toughest economic times the US has seen since the Great Depression. Since the store’s merchandise falls primarily into discretionary spending the store has struggled throughout its two year tenure at the new location.
Betty’s store in Winchester, Christmas Treasures, was actually a spin off of Gold Leaf. For many years Betty would set up a Christmas shop on the second floor of the Coiner’s building. Betty said, “The Christmas shop at Coiners grew and grew, so about nine years ago we opened Christmas Treasures in Winchester and my husband runs that.”
Located in the Delco Plaza off Route 50, Christmas Treasures is the largest year round Christmas shop in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
As the store marks its final days in Clarke County, Betty will be offering select items at significantly reduced prices. “There are a number of items that I carry at both places so I don’t have to liquidate, but other items that don’t really fit into our other location are on sale for 50% off.”