‘I’ve done everything I can do’: Winston-Salem store owner says Business 40 closure caused sales to drop, shop to close

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Patti Hamlin watched as customers sorted through her antiques and gifts for the last time on Saturday.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own store,” Hamlin said.

Patti opened Repeat Offenders on Liberty Street in Winston-Salem two and a half years ago. She said business was doing well until Business 40 closed and construction began.

“You can’t get down here,” Hamlin said.

“I got lost today and I’ve been here before,” said George Rouchard, a customer at the store Saturday. “The streets are a mess.”

Patti says sales during the Christmas season dropped 82 percent compared to the previous year. In March, only three people walked in the door.

“Gross sales for March were $147, that doesn’t pay the rent or light bill or anything else,’ Hamlin said.

She tried advertising and even asked the city and department of transportation for help.

“After a few months, they put some signs up that Liberty Street was open,” Hamlin said.

She said it was too little too late.

Greta Lint, a spokesperson for the department of transportation, told FOX8 a small business coordinator was brought in April of 2015.

Lint also said owners in the area were notified about the closure, they had the opportunity to attend more than 500 presentations and were given resource packets to help them before and during the construction.

Winston-Salem’s marketing and communications director said the city is posting videos with instructions on how to get around closures to help support the businesses.

“That doesn’t seem to be enough,” Hamlin said. “They’ve done advertisements, but they need to do some more advertisements. People need to know Bookstown is open, the Westend is open and Market Street is open.”

Patti says she doesn’t want to see any other shops and restaurants go out of business. She plans to take it easy this summer but may open another store in the future.

As for her current place, there will be a “tag sale” to liquidate everything that’s left on June 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 315 S. Liberty St.

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