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Gaslight Inn and Plate It Up close up shop

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Posted: Monday, May 25, 2009 11:00 pm

Two downtown businesses have become the latest victims of the current economic downturn.

The Glendale Gaslight Inn has locked its doors and Plate It Up has begun a ‘Going Out of Business” sale.

“Yes, it is true, the economy took us under,” said Gaslight Inn owner Teresa Seabrook in a message sent from her Blackberry.

Seabrook and her husband, Paul, opened the bed and breakfast in early 2006 in the historic Sine Building built in 1926 at 5747 W. Glendale Ave.

The couple lived in the San Francisco Bay area and in May 2005 while in town visiting a friend, fell in love with the vacant building and purchased it from Jim Eggleston.

Teresa said it had always been a dream of theirs to own a B & B with a wine shop and jazz music, all of the things they enjoy.

“We decided to kick up our heels and follow our dream,” Teresa said.

Now, calls to the Inn say the number is no longer in service and a message posted on their Web site says, “Sorry, we are not accepting reservations. For the past several years, Glendale Gaslight Inn, in Historic Downtown Glendale, has offered luxury accommodations and exceptional comfort. We have been grateful for your support and business. However, due to the current economic realities, we like other businesses must drastically undergo re-organization to ensure our long-term sustainability. Therefore we are sorry we must at this moment cease taking reservations and close our doors.”

Heather Burton, owner of Plate It Up at 5801 W. Glendale Ave., has begun selling off all of her merchandise, fixtures and decorations for 30 percent off, with a price reduction of 10 percent each week until they close their doors for good the end of June.

She opened the culinary tools store in Catlin Court in September 2004 and moved to the current location in March 2008.

“Cooking has always been my hobby and I have a passion for gadgets and tools, but my background is business and marketing,” said Burton of her decision to open the store. “I am just closing, I don't really have a ‘Plan B.' Go out and look for a job.”

She said she first began to see a downturn in business in 2007 but it got really bad last June.

“The first couple of months we moved here it was pretty good; then in June it came to a screeching halt, except December, sales have been down every month since then,” Burton said.

Her opinion of the Centerline Project to revitalize Glendale Avenue between 43rd and 67th avenues is that it is a great initiative but before they start building new things they should take care of what they have.

“They could do things downtown that don't cost a lot of money, keep signs neat, repair ripped awnings. It would go a long way towards making downtown more charming,” she said, adding that she really likes downtown Glendale. “The city's special events downtown were always good for introducing people to the area and store, but not enough. I blame it on the recession.”

Burton said she tried to sell the business for a couple of months before making the decision to close.

“I probably should have done it sooner,” Burton said.

Owner of the building and Burton's landlord, Sam Miller, said he is now looking for another quality tenant for the 3,000-square-foot space in a prime location right across from Murphy Park.

For 35 years, Miller's father had a shoe store at the location, “Miller Shoes” and when it closed in 2007 after his father passed away they remodeled it and leased it to Burton.

“Times have been tough in downtown Glendale; a lot of antique stores have come and gone. At sometime we have to look at getting more traditional retail tenants,” said Miller, adding if anyone is interested in leasing the building to call him at 602-570-8656. “Not many businesses have been here more than five years. I'm not knocking the city that is just the way it is.”

Marketing Deputy Director for the City of Glendale Jennifer Reichelt said it is disappointing whenever they see a business close but when they do have vacancies they fill up quickly.

“A lot of businesses worked hard to be successful but last year was a tough economy,” she said. “We will definitely miss these businesses.”

Ocotillo District Councilmember David Goulet who represents the downtown district said it is unfortunate that any business, wherever it may be located, goes out of business.

“I have owned one or more businesses in the downtown for more than 13 years and have seen many changes take place here and the area continues to persevere. It certainly is unfortunate that these two businesses are closing,” Goulet said.“They offered a great experience for anyone shopping, looking for entertainment, or staying in the downtown. I regret seeing them leave the area. I know that the people running the businesses worked very hard and the city helped promote the area as often as possible.”

He added that Centerline will likely help any business that is within the contours of the project and surrounding area.

Reach the reporter at ejackman@star-times.com, or 623-847-4615.

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