Business landscape changes in town

For anyone who has lived on the island more than a couple of years, business comings and goings are nothing new, seemingly an unavoidable part of small town life. This ebb and flow is happening again in the heart of Vashon town, as some businesses are closing and another launches.

After nearly 20 years, Dova Silks has closed its storefront as of July 1. Owner and designer Dorothy Dunnicliff said that the store simply wasn’t paying for itself any more.

“This past winter was particularly tough,” she added, noting that the ability to shop online as well as changing demographics have likely played parts in the decline in the store’s business.

Fans of Dunnicliff’s colorful, wearable art should not despair, however, as Dova Silks will maintain its online presence, and Dunnicliff is busy building her own studio, including a dye shed, so that she can continue working on custom items.

“At the moment, I’m thinking everything will be done sometime this fall,” she said of when she might be able to begin scheduling appointments. “And this will really help control the flow of things better.” For now she said that customers can leave messages on the shop’s phone number, as it still works for messages only.

Across the street, Rebecca Wittman’s President of Me clothing store is seeing its last days this summer, with a closing date set for Saturday, Sept. 2.

“It’s never really been my goal to be in retail,” Wittman said. “And in the past year, I’ve lost three, then four good friends … who I always meant to spend more time with but never had time to due to the store.”

In a post on the store’s website, Wittman also mentions wanting to spend more time with her mother, who turned 90 this past spring. Wittman said she has been deeply gratified by the island’s response to her venture, and like Dunnicliff, will maintain an online presence with a “scaled-down” inventory. Initially planning to retire, Wittman said that she recently received a job offer “too much fun to turn down” from the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, where she is doing communications and outreach. As for the space the store currently occupies next to The Hardware Store Restaurant, owner Melinda Powers said that she does not intend to rent it out once The President of Me is closed, and that “plans are currently being developed” for it.

In new business news, Vashon Village — the collection of businesses at 17205 Vashon Highway near The Lodges on Vashon — will once again be home to a salon (Sarah St. Germain’s moved in January) when islander Deborah D’Artell opens The Hive on Friday.

For the past 12 years D’Artell has been living on Vashon and working as a hair stylist with Francisco Marinez at the Old Fuller Store.

“I’ve been building my own clientele for years, so I finally decided it was time to invest in my own space,” she said of the decision to branch out on her own.

D’Artell, who trained and worked in Beverly Hills prior to moving to the island, said that services will be limited to hair cutting, styling and coloring for now, but the intention is to grow to include manicures, pedicures and makeup services in the future. D’Artell will be available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and has one other stylist on staff, Tracy Ambler, who will be available Tuesdays and Sundays.

The Hive will celebrate its grand opening in Vashon Village from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, with special musical guests the Speakeasy Jazz Cats from Seattle.

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