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The original article can be found at http://www.snponline.com/articles/2008/11/18/westerville_news_and_public_opinion/news/wedolls%2011_20081111_0410pm_17.txt

High-end Uptown doll shop will throw in the blankie

Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:24 PM EST

Hundreds of dolls will need a new home after a one-of-a-kind store closes in Uptown Westerville.

The owners of Checkerberries, located at 8 E. Main St., recently announced it will close due to what they said are spending cuts by their customers because of the economy.

"When you sell luxury items, you have to be prepared for people to cut back on spending when the economy is bad," said Susan Paugh, who co-owns the business with her daughter Julie Paugh-Scappaticci.

Paugh said she started "feeling the pinch" last fall when Christmas sales were down. By March they had dropped 50 percent and now they are down 80-to-90 percent from last year at this time.

Most purchases are for birthdays or Christmas and Paugh said she would like to stay open through the holidays. Currently all items are discounted 20 percent with some up to half off. Discounts will increase over time and even fixtures inside the business are for sale.

Hard-to-find doll lines carried by Checkerberries include Adora, Ashton-Drake, a favorite of Paugh, Berringer, Lee Middleton, Madame Alexander and Vogue. Prices range from $20 to $200.

Other items for sale include doll clothes, furniture, china tea sets, music boxes made by Thomas Kinkade, wooden toys, and stuffed animals including The Bearington Collection, Gund and Webkinz.

"We started off with collection dolls and naturally evolved to include kids products," Paugh said.

From little girls to their grandmothers who are buying them their first dolls, Paugh said customers are sad when they hear the store will be closing.

One younger customer even tried to give Paugh her life savings, around $50 in change, to help the store stay open.

Paugh, a Northland resident, said what she will miss most about Uptown are the friendly people she has met over the years. "We've had our shop for five years and in all that time I think I've only had one grumpy customer," she said.

The store has been located in Westerville for five years, first on East College Avenue, and then at their current location of 8 E. Main St.. In 2003 after Paugh quit her job with an insurance company to follow her dream.

Two years earlier, Paugh and her daughter ran an Internet business from their home but needed more space for their inventory.

Today the business is split between the storefront and Internet. With the store front closing Paugh said she may return to the Internet, but online sales also are down, she said.

"It's a shame to close," Paugh said, "we're the only store like this in all of Franklin County."

For more information visit checkerberries.com or call 614-890-1510.





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