The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

September 25, 2009

ECONOMY: The Gift Garden is going out of business

“It’s strictly the economy,” is what Loretta Bensley, owner of Middleport’s The Gift Garden, had to say about closing the doors to her flower and gift shop for good this weekend.

Bensley, who has owned the store for more than seven years, said business started taking a hit last summer when gas prices soared. “I’ve been trying for a year to hang on,” she said. “I don’t want to close, but I have to do what’s best for my family.”

Bensley said she thinks all small businesses feel the same way, and while there may be bigger companies than The Gift Garden closing, the industry is changing. For example, more people are likely shopping at big box stores where they can pick up gifts and flowers while they do their shopping, as opposed to visiting smaller stores, she said.

Also, Bensley said many people are cutting back on expenses altogether. She explained that funerals, for one, have changed from occasions that used to be spread out over three days, to having all the arrangements take place in one day.

And as the times have changed, The Gift Garden has felt the strain.

“I’ve been thinking about it for three or four months,” Bensley said about closing the store. “Every month goes by, and when you can’t pay the electric, the phone ... you have to do something.”

The Gift Garden, at 149 Telegraph Road, next to the drive-in theater, will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday — when everything will be 25 percent to 50 percent off — before closing its doors for good.

So what’s next for Bensley?

“I do have a job,” she said, explaining that she has set up some things for herself in the future. “I’m just moving on to the next chapter.”

Contact editor Holly Toal at 798-1400, ext. 8825.

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