By Heather Lusk
After nearly 12 years in business, children’s retail store Ballerinas and Bruisers will close mid-February.
Owner Steve Schwartz, known as Mr. Steve to his young customers, said a variety of factors played into the decision, including his residential move to Indianapolis and the changing retail environment.
“Local people have to learn to support local more,” he said.
Ballerina and Bruiser’s business model has changed through the years. The store added larger sizes for preteens and expanded options of pet food and treats. Schwartz recently eliminated vendors who sold their product online for less.
In the short term, Schwartz plans to travel with his husband and has several volunteer commitments under way. He’s in the process of exploring a new venture, most likely closer to Indianapolis, although he hasn’t ruled out Zionsville.
“I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to do,” he said. “I never say never. I never say goodbye. I don’t know what will happen.”
Although he doubts he will re-open Ballerinas and Bruisers at a different location, he plans to keep up with the latest youth trends and fashion.
“I will continue to do something with children in some way, shape or form,” he said. “Kids are my passion.”
The hardest part, Schwartz said, is leaving behind the customers and youngsters.
“Kids that I have watched be born and grow up, I’ll miss that dramatically,” he said.
Almost everything at the 180 S. Main Street store is 10 to 50 percent off.
Also announced recently, children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. plans to file for bankruptcy protection and close all 900 of its stores under the Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands. At least six stores in the Indianapolis area will close as a result. Earth Explorers Toys, a longstanding Zionsville children’s store, also closed in 2017.