Pittsboro’s Reclamation to close its doors

Posted 5/24/19

PITTSBORO — Just one week shy of its 8th anniversary, Reclamation, a store in downtown Pittsboro that sells vintage antiques and gently used items, will close its doors effective May 31.

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Pittsboro’s Reclamation to close its doors

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PITTSBORO — Just one week shy of its 8th anniversary, Reclamation, a store in downtown Pittsboro that sells vintage antiques and gently used items, will close its doors effective May 31.

The store isn’t closing because it’s losing money. In fact, store owner Elyse Rowley said Reclamation had its best sales year even in 2018.

Rather, Rowley says the owner of the building chose not to renew Reclamation’s lease at 102 Hillsboro St after entering into a contract to sell the location — a sign, she says, of things to come in Pittsboro.

“We are closing due to the upcoming sale of our building at what will be an historically record price,” Rowley wrote in an open letter to customers about the closing. “It is my opinion that you can consider us the first casualty of the incoming development.”

Rowley opened Reclamation after a 30-year career as an ultrasound technician. At the time, Pittsboro’s downtown wasn’t necessarily thriving. Over the years, Rowley has partnered with four other women — Vicki Harrocks, Brenda Moore, Tiana Thurber and Yvonne Stewart — who share the same passion giving new life to old things. Each of the women find, reclaim, and sell antiques, each taking their share of what they sell.

“(Reclamation is) a place where people come to remember things and people from their past that they loved,” Rowley said. “Sometimes people will see something and they will cry. We cry with them.”

Rowley and her partners have worked hard to keep their prices low while still making a living. She notes they function more like a co-operative rather than a antique mall. The women work together to make the store a single entity rather than individual booths, each working to sell the other’s wares. This is partially how they were able to keep prices low and still maintain a living. Reclamation is one of the more established, successful businesses in Pittsboro’s downtown, Rowley claims, but she said she’s not been able to find an affordable alternative location for the shop.

“So it breaks my heart and yes it makes me angry that we can’t continue because there is no suitable location in or near downtown with rent that we can afford,” she wrote. “I feel like this shop is important. We take a lot of things people throw away. They are connections to the past. We can take, clean, and repair them and people love them all over again.”

Rowley’s concerned not only for her future, but for the future of her partners; she noted that three of her partners are single, two of them with children.

“The future looks sad. Several of us have taken out booth space in antique malls,” Rowley said, adding that the income from those types of arrangements tend to favor the mall owner through booth rentals more than the vendors selling the wares.

Rowley is also concerned about the future of downtown Pittsboro.

“It also concerns me about the future of the other small businesses in downtown who aren’t lucky enough to own their buildings,” Rowley wrote in the open letter. “It’s the small businesses that are the heart of any downtown and the downtown is the heart of a community. People don’t go to strip malls and office complexes for an afternoon stroll with their kids or to meet their friends. Ask the locals or the out of town visitors why they come. It’s for the independently owned and unique restaurants, book stores, art galleries and retail shops. It isn’t for offices, giant gas stations or big box stores! Those can be located anywhere and people will seek them out when they’re needed.”

“It’s the small town charm,” Rowley said later. “That’s what our shop has to offer.

Dawn Wood, Pittsboro resident and loyal Reclamation customer, echoed that sentiment.

“Losing Reclamation is a huge blow to the downtown vibe,” Wood said. “It may sound weird, but I’m heartbroken this store is having to close its doors. They are my community and they have my support. Wherever they land after this month, I shall follow.”

Rowley and all the women who make Reclamation expressed their gratitude to everyone who has shopped with and supported them.

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.


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