Constantinople to close its doors this summer

After more than 20 years outfitting women in downtown Vashon, Constantinople will close this summer.

“It’s been coming for a while now,” store owner Connie Slabaugh said last week. “It’s been a rough couple years.”

Slabaugh, who also owns women’s clothing stores in Burien and Tacoma, said business at those stores came back after the recession, but that was not the case on Vashon.

At the first of the year, she said, she knew she would have to take action, but has been slow to put the closing signs in the window.

“I am very sad,” she added. “I really don’t want to do it.”

In addition to the ailing economy’s effect on her business, she said that it has been hard to hire staff on Vashon, and the months that the former dental office and the bakery sat empty only added to the problems.

“There was no foot traffic,” she said.

Now both those spaces are open again, but Slabaugh has made up her mind.

“It’s a little too late,” she said.

Despite difficulty with staffing, Slabaugh was quick to praise the two women who work for her now, Merry Dahlberg and Taran Hesselschwardt.

The latter will work for full time at the Red Bike, and she expects Dahlberg will also land on her feet, she said.

“She is a sought after quantity on the island,” she added.

Looking ahead, Slabaugh said she hopes an island-friendly store will move in.

“It’s the ideal retail location,” she noted.

The store will be open through the end of July, she said, and depending on the remaining stock, may stay open into the beginning of August.

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