SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – A Sevier County boutique said they have no choice but to close their doors amid rising rent costs and high inflation.
Many businesses are struggling due to inflation. Inflation in the U.S. hit 9.1% this month, meaning the price of everyday items has gone up from this time last year.
Some haven’t been able to handle the rising costs and have been forced to close their doors. This month, several businesses in Sevier County are shutting down due to price increases, and now another has been added to the list.
Beauty and the Beast Formal Boutique opened four years ago. They’ve been very successful in Downtown Sevierville and they weren’t expecting to close their doors so soon.
“We have great memories for the past four years and I feel like we really added something to this community for four years,” Owner Ashley Flasher said.
Her boutique is one of just a hand full of formal wear stores in Sevier County.
“We saw the need after the fires,” Flasher said. “There is nowhere to rent a gown. We saw the need for formal wear period, and we thought it would be a fun experience to try to give our community something different that we didn’t have.”
They’ve grown with the community since then.
“Four or five years ago my son went to his eighth-grade prom and we decided to come here to get his tux,” said Jennifer Knower, who’s been a customer ever since.
“We started out very green,” Flasher explained. “First, we just opened doing prom dresses and tuxedo rentals.
“Soon after we grew into the wedding gown rentals and that was a lot of fun,” she said. “That was totally different to deal with brides, especially ones coming into town to rent a gown for the day of or the next day.”
From bridal gowns to pageant dresses they’ve become a prime destination spot for men and women looking for an outfit for special events.
“We completely renovated the other side of our store to be a pageant store and we built a stage and we put the large mirror in that they could use as the selfie mirror and lots of new flooring new paint, “Flasher said. “So we did a lot of renovations just within the last few months.”
The business was great but they weren’t prepared for what was to come.
“The building got sold two weeks ago and we got told on a Friday that they sold the business, we met our new landlord on a Monday and it was a shock to us that it was even sold,” Flasher said.
According to Flasher, those new owners are raising their rent to a rate they can’t afford.
“Right now with inflation, rental prices are so high. When we signed our lease here years ago, we were at a great rate,” Flasher said. “Now that inflation is so high, you can’t get property at what used to be able to.”
They’ve made the decision to close their doors for good.
“I read that earlier today the first thing I thought was well we need to go there and get his tux because he graduates in May” Knower said. “And this is the only place, I wanted to go to get it.”
Flasher and her husband are hoping to go out on a high note by selling dresses and tuxedos until their last day.
They will be open until the end of August 27. That is when their lease ends. They’ll be having sales until then that will change weekly. You can keep up with their Facebook page by clicking here.