After almost 11 years, Blu, a women’s clothing boutique on Main Avenue, plans to close this month.
“It’s real sad. We love this place, we love this store, we love our customers. We have had an amazing 10 years,” said owner Nina Quiros Hardie.
Hardie is moving to Southern California with her family and plans to focus on Beach Blu, a similar shop that she opened in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, last year.
The shop’s business model has been doing well in Cabo but would likely need to be retooled in Durango to fit the changes in the local economy. Hardie’s decision to close the shop on the 600 block of Main Avenue was based on all these factors.
“It all kind of came together, it made sense,” she said.
Hardie was inspired to open Blu after moving to town when she was 29.
“When I moved here from Texas, I was like: ‘Huh, there’s nowhere to shop. I’ll just make somewhere to shop,’” she said.
She had a background in fashion and design but no formal business training and found Durango was a supportive environment to learn.
“It’s been a great ride, Durango’s been an awesome town to work with,” she said.
She specializes in high-end products including shoes, blouses and dresses in the shop, but the store focused on jeans. For example, Blu is where you can find a $200 pair of jeans, and Hardie feels strongly about the value of high-end jeans.
“To pay the money for a pair of jeans that’s going to last you a couple of years, in a style that looks really good on you, is way more advantageous, I think, than sort of splurging on instant gratification on a lesser well-made denim,” she said.
To bring the latest trends to Durango, Hardie and her staff traveled to New York City and Los Angeles to buy inventory from trade shows and educated customers.
“People come to us and say, ‘What should I be wearing right now?’” store manager Tyayna Pagan said.
But in recent years, the shop has been hurt by the downturn in gas prices and the rise of online shopping, Hardie said.
She considered changing the shop’s business model but decided against it because Durango already has boutiques offering clothes at lower price points, and it didn’t fit her expertise.
The store does not have a set date for its last day but does expect to close in the next month. Its inventory is deeply discounted.