Small business owners discuss decision to close amid pandemic – WSAZ-TV

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IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) – Opening a new business is always a risky venture, but doing so shortly before a pandemic turns out to be remarkably poor timing.

In 2019, friends Abby Kuehne and Amanda Cleary decided to open the Vault Market along Center Street in Ironton. They work with nearly 50 vendors who make and sell a little of everything.

They were inspired by growth in nearby downtowns in Russell and Ashland, Kentucky, and they had hoped to add some vibrancy to Ironton’s downtown.

“Where both she and I have grown up here, we knew there wasn’t much,” Kuehne said. “A lot of people would say there’s nothing, we can’t have that here, but we thought we could change that narrative, because we deserve something fabulous, as well. It’s a beautiful area.”

They say business was starting to pick up, but then the pandemic hit, resetting all their momentum.

“We would’ve been able to grow our business in that second year versus be flat,” Kuehne said.

They’ve announced on May 22, they’ll be closing their doors for good.

“There were just too many circumstances beyond our control,” Kuehne said. “The stress had become quite a bit. We’ve been in survival mode for more than a year.”

“We did make some phone calls to some of the vendors who’ve been with us from the beginning, and it was heartbreaking,” Cleary said, “but I know they understand what life has been like for us the past year.”

For customers who’ve enjoyed the Vault during its brief existence, word of its upcoming closure is tough to take.

“I was pretty disappointed,” Sunni Unger said. “We love coming here, and it’s brought life to downtown Ironton.”

“We were pretty sad,” Sissy Clyse said. “We like to come here for gifts and such, and it was nice to have young business people in Ironton believing in Ironton and supporting our community.”

On May 8, the Vault will be hosting a sale with outdoor vendors and food trucks as they wind down toward their closing date of May 22.

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