Shoppers bid "au revoir" to Carson City's French-country boutique Friday, ending its three-year turn downtown, in what many consider the toughest commercial district in the capital city.
Chateau Bliss' loyal patrons greeted owners Heather Blueberg, 36, and Lorie Swafford, 39, like old friends. Customers picked out home decorations priced 50 percent off and mused over the loss to the community and their homes.
Every room of Mo Wion's Minden home has something from Chateau Bliss. On Friday afternoon, she purchased a decorative clock for about $40.
"Miss Heather and Miss Lorie have just been wonderful," she said. A few days before, Wion had cried in her car after leaving the shop.
"There is nothing like this in the valley," said Marlene Day, of Minden. "They are going to be missed."
The two owners are best friends who opened the business so they could express their creativity and spend time with each other. They call this their break from the difficult job of running a gift store downtown.
"Chateau Bliss has been a great store," said Swafford. "I think Carson City is losing something when we leave."
On their last day, Swafford took her digital video camera through the 2,400-square-foot shop and captured memories: the walls they stayed up until 2 a.m. painting, the displays they labored hours over, rooms where they hosted locals for the culinary festival "A Taste of Downtown."
The women estimated they've invested about $600,000 in the business.
Blueberg said they never would've lasted this long, in this economy, without the support of their husbands and a cadre of about 300 patrons. They decided to close the store about a month ago.
After Blueberg had a difficult recovery from a surgery, she realized they couldn't provide the hours to keep the store open and take care of themselves and their families. Both women have three children.
Blueberg also realized shoppers weren't stopping in as much.
"They want you to stay open, but they shop at big-box stores like Target or Wal-Mart, or it's the Internet," Blueberg said.
The business and the building are for sale. Blueberg and Swafford have 602 Curry St. on the market for $649,000.
Their agent, Mary Jo Brummer, said there has been some interest in the two-story commercial building in the historic district. For information, or to view the building, contact Brummer at 721-5905.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.