Two Maryland jewelry retail businesses will close their downtown Baltimore locations this month.
Fine jeweler Amaryllis will shutter its 1,000-square-foot store in the stylish Harbor East waterfront neighborhood Friday, but will maintain its location in nearby Towson, Md. Co-owners Allie Wolf and AnnaMarie Fiume opened the Towson store in April 2017.
Fiume says sales at the waterfront location fell sharply in 2015, after the death of Freddy Gray, and the riots and citywide unrest that followed.
News coverage of the events, which fanned out internationally, curtailed tourism, which Fiume says accounted for a large percentage of sales at the store. The events following Gray’s death also lead to “[customers] expressing their desire not to come downtown anymore,” the retailer told JCK.
The high rent in the district didn’t help matters, Fiume added, saying, “I’m a small retailer…it makes doing business here very difficult.”
Fire & Ice, a local jewelry retail chain that launched in 1980 and operates four stores in the Baltimore region, will also close a shop in downtown Baltimore, in the up-and-coming Fells Point neighborhood. The store has been in business for three years.
Owner Jan Levine told the Baltimore Business Journal that the company won’t reopen a downtown store, explaining that the shop, “never really took off with shoppers.”
She added, “During the week in Fells Point, there is no foot traffic, not even on a nice day. I guess my product doesn’t really identify with [residents].”
Amaryllis’ exit from Baltimore, a scrappy, fascinating small city that’s been battered in recent years by tragedy, institutional dysfunction, and the bad press that goes with both, is particularly sad.
Wolf bought the business in 2000 from her mother, founder Saralee Wolf, who ran a store at Baltimore’s Gallery at Harborplace for 22 years.
The closing “is very bittersweet,” says Fiume, who will renovate the Towson Amaryllis store with Wolf this month to more closely resemble their Baltimore space.
“Right now we’re going to focus on our one store and our online business,” she says. But the partners aren’t averse to growth in the future.
“You never know when another opportunity will arise to open somewhere else,” says Fiume. “We’re always open to it.”
(Photo: Amaryllis’ Baltimore store, courtesy of the company)