When Steve Wigotow, 67, took over running Starr’s, his family’s historic Pearl Street clothing store in 1972, his retired grandfather, stopped in.
A tailor who emigrated from Poland in the early 1900s, his grandfather stood in the shop, looked around and told his grandson, “Put a suit in the window.”
It was new and used suits and men’s clothing that helped Ben Wigotow, in 1914, launch a store that would endure for more than 100 years on Pearl Street.
But it would be Levi’s, hiking boots, painters pants and work shirts that helped Steve Wigotow and his wife Karen, 58, prosper downtown.
This year, however, that legacy comes to an end. Faced with a 40 percent rent hike and rising competition from online retailers, the Wigotows have decided to close the store at 1630 Pearl St.
“It’s the evolution of retail,” Steve Wigotow said. “We’re competing with the world now, not just the businesses here in town.”
Frank Hagan, a downtown Boulder landlord himself, began shopping at Starr’s as a teenager.
Like other native Boulderites, Hagan said he’s bothered by what he sees as profound changes in downtown, as more out-of-state investors stake their claims on its real estate, and rising taxes make it harder for small, local retailers to maintain profitability.
“One by one, I’m seeing all of these local places closing. Old Boulder is going away. It’s kind of sad,” he said.
The sale starts Wednesday afternoon.
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