|Harbor’s Ragz and Bagz another victim of economy|
|Written by Marge Woodfin, Pilot staff writer|
|January 30, 2009 07:08 pm|
Owners Christy Wagner and Jeanne Charleton are selling out everything in the store – including the fixtures – and moving to Arizona. What had been a booming business for the partners since their purchase of BG’s Boutique in 2003, has fallen flat.
From the time Wagner and Charleton purchased BG’s in the Port of Brookings Harbor, the two enthusiastic clothing and jewelry designers became the fashion gurus of Brookings-Harbor.
The business went so well that in 2005 they opened a second women’s shop, Embellishments in the Harbor Shopping Mall on Hwy 101 to show a bit trendier clothing and accessories to stay ahead of the fashion curve.
In April 2007 they combined the two shops into one at the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center, Ragz and Bagz, with the motto, “We put the fun back in shopping.”
They offered an array of trendy, upscale women’s fashions and an expanded line of Coastal Casual clothing that was greeted with enthusiasm by their clients.
Business continued to grow, with the shop becoming the favorite stop for the wives of the sports fishermen during the salmon season and all year round for local residents.
Christy said, “2007 was our best year ever.” In February 2008 they went to market in Las Vegas, purchasing enthusiastically based on their business projections from the 2007.business, and looking forward to another smashing year.
Christy said sadly, “By March, gas prices were up, salmon fishing was not happening and things started down. We were not seeing the volume of people coming to town or to the store, so we knew we had a problem.”
She added, “The problem started in April and we started some selective canceling of orders, bringing down the level of our inventory. Each month we looked at sales and figured out how to cancel orders. In July our hearts just broke.”
She said by September their sales were down 75 percent. “In September the markets crashed, and the financial scandals were reported,” she noted. “We realized we couldn’t hang on. We weren’t covering our overhead.”
She said that they kept hearing that the election would be over and things would be improve. “We kept holding on, thinking maybe December would be better, but it was the worst in six years.”
After the Christmas sale when, she said, “Nobody came,” they called G.A. Wright, the company that had helped Dixie’s (a former popular Harbor women’s clothing store) with its closing sale. January 1 they closed to prepare for the big sale and reopened Jan. 8 to sell out.
Wagner said they chose G.A. Wright because the company has an excellent reputation and great integrity, and abides by all state and federal laws. “They were even featured on CNN,” she said.
It’s with great regret that Charleton and Wagner are leaving the community, but they said they have checked the markets and have used up their emergency funds trying to hang on, and must now move on. “We’ve had wonderful landlords who have done a beautiful job on the mall,” Charleton said.
She said it will be difficult to say goodbye to their many loyal clients, some of whom have even pitched in to help out with the closing sales.
“It’s been a great experience,” Wagner said. “But, regretfully, it’s time to move on.”
The sale goes on and there’s still time to take advantage of the bargains. Ragz and Bagz is currently open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.