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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTHE LEATHER SHOP IS CALLING IT QUITS

THE LEATHER SHOP IS CALLING IT QUITS

Another mainstay of Main Street will soon fade from the scene. The Leather Shop, a downtown fixture for 33 years, will close its doors at the end of July or early August, according to owner Kathryn Peterson.
"It's a lot of things coming together at the same time," Peterson said of the reason for her decision. "I'm ready to do something else." The local market is moving in a different direction, she added, and "with the general economy, it's time to quit."
That difference in direction is evident to those who can remember when Main Street was known as the "Rodeo Drive of the Caribbean," a comparison to the pricey Beverly Hills shopping area of preference for Hollywood's rich and famous. On today's Main Street, shops selling gold chains by the inch, electronics and cheap T-shirts have all but taken over. It appears that an appetite for electronic goods has "replaced the desire for fine china and crystal," Peterson said.
"The Leather Shop predates me," she said, recalling that she came to the islands in the early 1980s and took over the store from Wyatt McCants and Harry Snook, who had started it in 1967.
"The barkers and the carnival atmosphere have changed things," she said. "The lovely shops like Maison Danoise aren't here any more." Island residents as well as tourists used to head downtown to shop for "really interesting things," she said, adding with a sigh, "I've watched the variety of shops shrink over the past 20 years, a little more each year."
In May, Peterson closed her other Main Street business, the Sargasso boutique, basically for the same reasons, even though "we had a loyal local clientele there." Last year, she consolidated what had been three separate leather goods stores on Main Street — the flagship Leather Shop and outlets for the Fendi and Coach lines — into the main location that is now about to close.
Her immediate plans for the future, she said, are to "catch up on all those things I've been meaning to do for the past 20 years."
A new Diamonds International jewelry store will take over the location.

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Another mainstay of Main Street will soon fade from the scene. The Leather Shop, a downtown fixture for 33 years, will close its doors at the end of July or early August, according to owner Kathryn Peterson.
"It's a lot of things coming together at the same time," Peterson said of the reason for her decision. "I'm ready to do something else." The local market is moving in a different direction, she added, and "with the general economy, it's time to quit."
That difference in direction is evident to those who can remember when Main Street was known as the "Rodeo Drive of the Caribbean," a comparison to the pricey Beverly Hills shopping area of preference for Hollywood's rich and famous. On today's Main Street, shops selling gold chains by the inch, electronics and cheap T-shirts have all but taken over. It appears that an appetite for electronic goods has "replaced the desire for fine china and crystal," Peterson said.
"The Leather Shop predates me," she said, recalling that she came to the islands in the early 1980s and took over the store from Wyatt McCants and Harry Snook, who had started it in 1967.
"The barkers and the carnival atmosphere have changed things," she said. "The lovely shops like Maison Danoise aren't here any more." Island residents as well as tourists used to head downtown to shop for "really interesting things," she said, adding with a sigh, "I've watched the variety of shops shrink over the past 20 years, a little more each year."
In May, Peterson closed her other Main Street business, the Sargasso boutique, basically for the same reasons, even though "we had a loyal local clientele there." Last year, she consolidated what had been three separate leather goods stores on Main Street -- the flagship Leather Shop and outlets for the Fendi and Coach lines -- into the main location that is now about to close.
Her immediate plans for the future, she said, are to "catch up on all those things I've been meaning to do for the past 20 years."
A new Diamonds International jewelry store will take over the location.