Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Quarter Century Later, Mitzi & Romano Quietly Closes in Virginia-Highland

Mitzi & Romano abruptly closed this past weekend.

Mitzi & Romano, the longstanding women's clothing and accessories boutique located in the heart of Virginia-Highland at the corner of North Highland & Virginia Avenues, closed this past Friday night. With seemingly no notice or "liquidation sale," the boutique was emptied out Friday evening and by Saturday afternoon, the store was barren.  No message or explanation was posted outside the store itself, nor on their Facebook page.  The store's phone number is disconnected, while their Facebook remains live and suggests the store is open normal business hours.

Neighborhood sources say that the 25+ year old boutique was not offered a renewal of their lease, and was forced to close.  A real estate contact suggests that the business may have been in trouble, possibly behind on rent, and as such was not offered a lease renewal.

Mitzi & Romano had been a Virginia-Highland neighborhood favorite since opening in the late 80s.  The store has moved , expanded, and shrunk a few times over the years, but managed to remain in business, weathering the advent of the internet and economic slowdowns.

Strangely, in mid July, fellow Virginia-Highland small business Bella Cucina Artful Food also abruptly closed, leaving many in the neighborhood distressed.  Word later surfaced that the company had filed bankruptcy earlier in the year and public records show the company owed a tremendous amount of money to a number of creditors and allegedly had been unable to pay rent for a number of months.

Will you miss Mitzi & Romano?  What is your favorite Virginia-Highland business?  What would you most like to see open in place of Mitzi & Romano?  Please share your thoughts below.  

14 comments:

SB said...

Ugh, who owns all that space? The restaurants and bars can pay top dollar rent but you can't expect boutiques to as well and we need them to support the entire feel.

Lisa said...

They were open on Sat but clearly going out of business - boxes of light fixtures, etc.

Atlantan99 said...

@SB,

Stuart Meddin owns that prime piece of Atlanta real estate ( as well as Emory Village and a number of other ITP landmarks) I'm told he has a replacement signed an hope to have confirmation of what it is within the next two weeks.

Thanks for the comment and for your readership.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame to see an establishment like Mitzi close after so many years. Her store has been a cornerstone for the community and she has launched numerous careers from her guidance and expertise. She will be sorely missed from the area and we hope that she continues to visit our side of town.

Anonymous said...

Park Atlanta is not making it easier for any of these shops.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sad to see Mitzi and Romano closing. Things changed though when they moved the clothing into the shoe space. The merchandise wasn't the same.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Park Atlanta...

Anonymous said...

No one is willing to pay for parking just to browse. The result is that there are very few people who come into the neighborhood to walk through the shops. Metered parking has had the same affect on retail and service businesses on the south part of highland around St. Charles.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the parking making it very difficult to bring in people who live outside the neighborhood. I am surprised, with the demographics of the neighborhood changing over the last thirty years that I've lived here, to couples with children, that someone hasn't opened a children's clothing store that isn't necessarily of the organic type.

lisa oliver said...

Hi Anonymous @ 4:13pm

There was a children's shop (ages newborn to 3 years (?)) there maybe not even a year ago. It was in the location of the costume jewelry store.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can blame Park Atlanta for the demise of Mitzi and Romano. There is a huge, free lot right behind the shops. Retail in general is suffering these days.

Anonymous said...

I worry that the landlord seeks such ridiculous rents that only the highest margin businesses could afford to pay them. The problem is that our community may not want those businesses as much as something that would serve us more directly. VaHi has always felt 'homey' but as the businesses change the feeling changes.

Anonymous said...

Stores and retail districts like this survive and thrive in other cities - even auto-centric cities like Dallas. Atlantans are just addicted to their malls and cars and have very little patience for anything other than a large surface parking lot. VaHi people want to consider themselves "urban" but really they are just suburbanites living in the city.

Anonymous said...

Not huge, as it's often full, and not actually free as you have to tip the valet.