After about 20 years, G. Whiz, a gift and jewelry store at The Foundry in Barrington, will start clearing out merchandise today and close its doors by late March.
Owners Jan and Bob Cunningham plan to semi-retire but will continue to operate two Pandora jewelry stores they own; one in the Deer Park Town Center and another in Tucson, Ariz., where they plan to move.
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"Business has been good, but we knew it was time and have been planning this for about a year," Jan Cunningham said about closing G. Whiz.
The Cunninghams, both 54, began their business at the former Bell's Apple Orchard in Lake Zurich and had participated in local art fairs with their own jewelry creations. They moved their business to The Foundry of Barrington in 1993.
Now, three of the store's eight employees plan to retire, while the others may get jobs at the Pandora store in Deer Park, Cunningham said.
Merchandise throughout the store will be discounted from 15 percent to 75 percent, starting Thursday. Special orders will be accepted through mid-February, Cunningham said.
After following trends and fashion for the last 20 years, Cunningham said the busiest time had to be the Beanie Baby craze of the mid-1990s.
"My whole living room was filled with those things," she joked. "I was so worried that the craze would end before they were even shipped."
But that Beanie Baby fad lasted long enough to provide extra capital for their business and helped them to expand, she said.
"This is a lot like sending your children off to college," Cunningham said. "On the one hand, you're really glad they're grown up and they're off on their own and can experience this. But then you're sad and you know you'll miss them. I know we're going to miss our employees and our customers, many of them we knew personally. And I know I'll miss finding the new trends and the new artists that no one knew about before."