A downtown Glen Ellyn boutique that uses its proceeds to benefit charity will be closing its doors for good this weekend.
SARET Treasures of Hope, 449 N. Main St., had moved from its former location in a Roosevelt Road strip mall to its current spot in 2010, but the state of the economy made sales difficult, said Chana Bernstein, president of the SARET Charitable Fund, which helps the homeless, disabled and less fortunate.
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"We realized after four years with the economy as it continues, making (that) amount of money wasn't going to be viable," Bernstein said.
The store served as a face for the charity, which Bernstein started in 1985 to help suburban refugees from countries such as Cambodia and Ethiopia. She says she opened the store to provide job training opportunities for women and as a place to feature jewelry they made.
It also became a place for SARET's clients to stop in to receive money for gasoline or bus fare cards.
The work of the charity will continue, Bernstein says. Day-to-day operations will take place where they started -- out of Bernstein's home. And she's working with a Glen Ellyn church to perhaps provide a location for clients to come in the afternoons.
"The backbone of our work is the charity," she said.
The store did well initially, but sales soon became sporadic when the economy worsened. At one point, Bernstein said she took out a loan to cover costs.
"It was a nightmare every month not knowing if we'd have money and have to delay bill payments and give our landlord rent payments in increments," she said.
Bernstein has also said all along the store would have to support itself -- no donations to the charity would be used to make rent payments.
Without having to manage a store, Bernstein said she'll be able to devote more time to her advocacy work for the homeless and disabled. She may even write a book.
"I want to sensitize the public to this whole issue of grass-roots philanthropy, where you really work with people in the trenches," she said.