LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — From the grocery store to the gas pump to housing costs, Americans are paying a lot more and it’s causing a lot more concern. The soaring inflation is also crippling some small businesses, including in Colorado.
A long-time Littleton store announced it’s closing its doors at the end of the month.
The store, Once Upon A Child, is a Colorado franchise, but its Littleton location has been owned by a local couple for nearly two decades and is a staple in the community. After recovering from the harsh impacts of COVID-19 and still dealing with severe staffing shortages, rising inflation was the final straw for the owners.
Once Upon A Child in Littleton is located in Bowles Marketplace and is an affordable and practical option for parents. Parents and caregivers shop there for discounted children’s clothing, items and toys.
Eunice Kinrade’s daughter and son-in-law own the store, but Kinrade has been helping manage it with them for years. Loyal customers were surprised at a post that popped up on the store’s Facebook page that said ”Going Out of Business.”
“The prices keep going up, and we’re really pinching our pennies to make ends meet,” Kinrade said.
She said that the store closed for four months during the pandemic, and they managed to stay afloat and have just recovered. The business is currently dealing with staffing shortages, and being able to provide competitive salaries to retain and recruit new hires and now the soaring inflation has pushed the business over the edge.
Kinrade said the rent has significantly increased along with storage costs, utility costs and more and that has a domino effect on their profit margin, which is shrinking fast.
Inflationary pressures on businesses steadily rising
Once Upon A Child in Littleton is not alone in its struggle. According to a Goldman Sachs national study, 88% of small business owners say inflationary pressures on their businesses have increased since January of 2022.
So, for the community staple store, it’s goodbye for now as they prepare to close the shop. General Manager Dee Wood said it’s a sad time, but she has really enjoyed her seven years of employment there.
“It’s been a fantastic place to come to work,” Wood said. “I had a little boy in here today, probably 8 or 9, and he was just weeping. His mom just kept saying, ‘He’s just so sad you’re closing. It’s his favorite store.'”
The Littleton location is having large sales right now trying to clear everything out. Kinrade said there is still a last-minute chance that someone could buy the store in the new few days, but if not, the store will close on July 1 and its last day of business will be June 30.