A home furnishings store on St. Paul's Grand Avenue will close shop after 31 years, with its owners blaming the city for its exit.
Traditions Classic Home Furnishings, an upscale home accessories company that also has locations in St. Louis Park and Naples, Florida, made the announcement in a letter from owners Mike and Suzanne Schumann on Friday.
Traditions initially opened in a small, 1,500-square-foot store on the corner of Selby and Dale in 1987 before moving to its larger Grand Avenue location in 1991.
But the Schumanns have laid the blame for their decision to close by Jan. 31 and focus on their store on St. Louis Park's Excelsior Boulevard at the feet of the City of St. Paul, for reasons that include "trying to raise revenue by aggressive enforcement of parking."
"St. Paul is our home and Summit Avenue is our neighborhood, we did not make the decision to leave lightly," said Mike Schumann.
"For years we’ve expressed our concerns to the City of St. Paul over tax increases and the expansion of regulations that are leading to more and more small businesses closing on Grand Ave.
"When we opened our first store at Selby and Dale 31 years ago, we had tremendous support from the city's political leadership and staff. Lately the attitude of the city has shifted from offering a helping hand, to trying to raise revenue by aggressive enforcement of parking and other regulations. It's just not fun to do business in St Paul anymore."
The Pioneer Press reports that Mike Schumann has been a critic of the city's move to organized trash collection, as well as new rules requiring landlords to provide voter registration information to new tenants.
A member of the Grand Avenue Business Association, Schumann also criticized the protests that took place outside the governor's mansion on Summit Avenue, following the shooting of Philando Castile.
There will be no employee layoffs as a result of the Grand Avenue closure, the company said, as it intends to expand at the St. Louis Park store it opened in 2008.
This store, right on the Minneapolis border, caters for Traditions "customer base of empty nesters downsizing into urban condos and young families with homes in the suburbs."
"We like the vibrancy and development in the area," Suzanne Schumann said. "We havewonderful customers and can't wait to bring them even more choices as we concentrate our energies on a single location."