It's the end of a retail era, as one of downtown Mount Dora’s longest-running boutiques closed last week. The owners of The Secret Garden, Marti and Steve Schwab, announced they will be happily retiring and are permanently closing the femme boutique.
The Schwabs purchased the French-inspired shop in 2007 after a visit to Mount Dora. The quaint and popular Donnelly Street store which sold apparel, accessories and vintage items had two previous owners.
After 13 years working as downtown Mount Dora merchants, the Schwabs are leaving the area to travel and to cheer on their daughter’s college cross-country team in Mississippi.
The couple attempted to sell The Secret Garden for several months before the pandemic using a business broker, but the experienced merchants cited the rent in their prime downtown location deterred prospective buyers and dissuaded them from renewing their lease. COVID-19 later presented additional challenges for the established business, according to the couple.
“We will miss your beautiful faces (even with masks) and we thank you for being such wonderful customers and friends to us over the last 13 years,” wrote the Schwabs to their customers on Facebook.
Loyal patrons will be happy to learn that The Secret Garden will continue to sell online through Facebook and Instagram after it closes. Last month, the owners of Noni at the Olive Branch, a store just a few doors away from The Secret Garden, also announced they would be retiring. Read more.
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