While the St. Dizier retail furniture store and showroom on the corner of Center and Matheson streets will be closing its doors after 20 years, the St. Dizier upstairs design firm will be very much alive and operating and will remain open to serve clients.
Cathy Hopkins will be retiring the showroom so she can take a breather from busy retail life and focus on clients with the design firm.
Hopkins said she will still work with all of her usual clients with all of the same furniture lines so customers do not have to worry about missing out.
“The interior design business upstairs has always been a Monday through Friday business by appointment,” and it will stay that way, she emphasized. “What I’ll do is I will take all of my clients that I am working with now in the store ... I will be available to them upstairs by appointment.”
“I’ve been running it (the showroom) for 20 years and I decided that I want to slow down, not work so many weekends and in order to do that I needed to have somebody in place that was willing to work every weekend … and at this time I don’t have that person,” Hopkins said.
Owner Jacques Dizier said their lease doesn’t run out until October of next year so in the meantime they will try to sublet the space out.
He said they want to be out of the showroom by the end of this October.
Dizier noted that it will be a transition after having the showroom for two decades.
“I didn’t realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in that corner,” he said.
Hopkins and Dizier first met while they were working at a retail showroom in Santa Rosa and later moved to a showroom in St. Helena.
Later when Dizier opened his interior design business Hopkins joined him in the office but expressed an interest in a retail store, and soon after that the corner retail showroom was born.
“Retail was supposed to be the arm of the design firm. Cathy gave it a life of its own,” Dizier said.
So who will take over the big space?
Hopkins said there has been interest in the space; however, it has not been shared who is interested.
“We have had people come and look at the space several times,” she said. “It is the best location in town for sure; I feel it has the busiest corner, the best visibility, great square footage and Oakville has always been such a draw.”
St. Dizier’s showroom hours are now Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The upstairs design firm will retain its normal Monday through Friday business hours with sessions by appointment only.
Goodbye, Virginia Carol
Across the street from St. Dizier there’s been another business change.
After many years Virginia Andrews, owner of the Virginia Carol Boutique next-door to Oakville Grocery, closed her store last week.
Now empty, a hand-written sign on the door reads, “Thanks for 12 action packed years! Virginia Carol is now closed.”
According to Alan Baker, chairperson of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce Board, and Eric Drew, Andrews wished to close.
Hopkins said she had been trying to sell the space for a while. As the August lease went up, Andrews decided to close.
“After much heartfelt thought and discussion, my husband and I decided to not renew the lease — mainly because I did not want to be locked in to another three to five year contractual commitment. It was an extremely hard decision and I kept going back and forth about what was the best choice for us at this juncture in time,” Andrews said.
Andrews said they are not necessarily calling the closure a retirement since there are other business pursuits she would like to explore.
“I will certainly miss the creative aspect that goes along with running a store. I will miss the smiling and happy customers who spent time in my shop, many of whom I photographed and featured on my store Instagram as #wearingasmile. I will miss all the dogs that liked laying on my tile floor and that wandered in and out of the fitting rooms and behind the wrap desk,” Andrews said. “There is so much more.”
Baker said in an email, “With the departure of Virginia Carol, and soon St. Dizier there will three high profile vacancies on the Plaza — the third being the shop on north east corner of the Plaza.”
Tallia Hart, the chamber’s new chief executive officer, said often times people sell or simply run the course of their lease.
“The chamber has not seen any indicators that business is slow of suffering. We will continue to advocate to create a thriving environment for all business in Healdsburg to succeed,” Hart said.