“Our plans are a little up in the air right now,” Cantrell said. The shop will definitely be closed beginning next week, and although there is some talk of organizing a bazaar with a few partner shops in the coming weeks, the plans are still unfixed. Furthermore, Cantrell is unsure whether she even wants to stay in the neighborhood at all. “The dynamic of the neighborhood is just really changing. We have to evaluate whether it makes sense for us to keep going.”
Cantrell explained that the majority of her regular clients have been leaving the neigborhood, with many ditching the city altogether. Although the new owners of 624 Metropolitan Avenue offered her a favorable rent, demographic changes continue to be a determining factor for small businesses in Williamsburg, she said. “Over the last few years, people who supported small businesses have moved. When the neighborhood got ‘quote unquote’ gentrified, small businesses thought it would bring prosperity, but that wasn’t necessarily the case.”
Instead, Cantrell found that the rapid development of Williamsburg, which usually involves tearing down old buildings and slamming luxury housing in their place, drove out her client base and paved the way for vape shops and other establishments she described as “not so great.”
Nonetheless, Cantrell is determined to keep her business going, whether it be in the form of another brick-and-mortar shop or online. Her speciality, guayaberas, will continue to be available, and she plans to expand her operations in bringing the handcrafted shirts from the Yucatán Peninsula to the United States.