Here’s what I’ll miss about Cassie’s

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl

In the rapidly evolving story of the comings and goings of businesses in the area, word is out that after 25 years in the Central West End Cassie Buehl, above, is moving Cassie’s to Colonial Marketplace, 8837 Ladue Road. The move—about mid-April—will leave another regrettable void in the neighborhood’s dwindling retail mix.

Cassie said that she isn’t happy about leaving the neighborhood, but said walk-in business has declined—she points to Amazon and online shopping as factors—so she has wanted to downsize for the past few years, but hasn’t been able to strike a deal with her landlord.

Other factors leading to the decision include lower rent in the Ladue location—for admittedly a slightly smaller space—and parking out front. Since 60% of her customers are from out of the neighborhood, she said lack of available parking and the “take no prisoner approach” to the issuance of parking tickets are an issue in the CWE location.

In addition to missing visiting with Cassie herself, here are a few of the reasons I have loved having Cassie’s right around the corner for all these years:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl

Seasonal goods, such as the Easter-themed merchandise above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl

$18 sunglasses, which are now 1/2 off (there are only a few left). Cassie said that Whole Foods carries the same brand, but who at WF am I going to ask to get an opinion on how they look on me? That’s the beauty of the kind of personalized service offered at independent retail operations. Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl   Cassie’s house-brand moisturizer in 3 different formulas (A, D & E, Shea Butter, and Stardust Shimmer) and 3 sizes ($5, $14, & $24). If you wish, you can choose from a large selection of scents from Cassie’s Scent Bar that can be mixed in (my latest combination is lemongrass and rose).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl

“Camille” Glycerine Hand Therapy by Camille Beckman, $5.95, $13.95 and $16.95, which I discovered at Cassie’s years ago.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Central West End Cassie's Scents Cassie Buehl

And a large selection of Roots candles, $3.50 each.

Rumor has it that the space will be reconfigured to create two separate spaces of about 1000 s.f. each. Hopefully that will increase the prospects for new retail uses in that stretch of the Euclid commercial district.

Cassie’s Scents, 316 N. Euclid, until April 15.

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8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Katherine Kurtz

    April 3, 2019

    I haven’t been in Cassie’s for quite some time but always loved what I got there. I very rarely can find a parking space at the Colonial Marketplace which is why I stopped going the Women’s Exchange for lunch, Splash and the FedEx there. I hope she has good luck.

  2. Reply

    Robert

    April 4, 2019

    My experience was similar. I failed to take parking into account. And I thought I was going to be special… I was going to be successful in retail in an area that didn’t support it. A few people were supportive… but people vote with their wallets. They did want to spend money… at restaurants and bars.

  3. Reply

    Carol Kyser

    April 4, 2019

    I loved Cassies and always bought my soaps, bath products, and gifts there . I don’t shop online, only local, and will miss yet another wonderful local Institution. I’m not sure what’s this neighborhood is turning into, but I do know we need local retail to keep the money in the community. You can only eat at so many restaurants in an evening. I also feel we owe it to our visitors to have something Charming and local to discover!

  4. Reply

    David Strom

    April 4, 2019

    One issue for CWE retail going forward is that they have to be open at the times when the neighborhood is most filled with people, which is usually after they close their stores. Look at how busy Left Bank is in the evenings. How many of our other retailers close down at 6pm? As we move from straight retail to a mixed retail/entertainment/bar scene, we have to adjust to these later hours. We also have to have retailers that are matching our changing demographics, and better serve this population.

    And foot traffic is a red herring. There is nowhere else in the metro area that gets more traffic than we do. I would say in the 12 years that I have lived here we have more feet on the street than ever before.

  5. Reply

    Jim Dwyer

    April 4, 2019

    I agree with David Strom’s observation about the importance of later hours of operation for shops in the CWE. I have been promoting that idea for years, with little success. The concept is simple….be open when people are around. Might not be appropriate for all types of businesses, but certainly some. If there were sufficient critical mass and the neighborhood developed a reputation for later shopping hours, I believe that would feed on itself and would yield significant benefits over time.

  6. Reply

    DEBRA HUNTER

    April 4, 2019

    Nicki,
    Thank you for sharing the news and your kind words about Cassie’s store and goods, it is very obvious she and her longstanding shop will be missed by many people- inside and outside our neighborhood, she has a strong following and lovely concept we are sure she has much success ahead.
    As fellow retailers in the neighborhood, we can appreciate the difficulties she mentions. Ross and I have spent our entire adult lives in the world of retail- luxury/specialty, department stores and for the last 3 years as independent shopkeepers – CA /STL. We are fully aware that the retail scene is constantly evolving- and at lightning speed now; the local storefront is challenged in new ways- everyday in this digital age: (not only) through parking inconvenience, but being under sold by large online platforms, subscription boxes and yes, competing against our own vendors who often sell directly to the consumer with discounts- all online via the ease of phones and computers.
    Yes, PROVISIONS ST LOUIS is a brick and mortar neighborhood store, but it is up to us to realize that our customers are enveloped by and move within a digital culture- it is up to us to understand that we in a sense are competing for their attention with with shops (and aesthetics) they see from across the region, country and even the other side of the world.
    Every brick & mortar retailer, (every brick & mortar business) has got to be vigilant, creative and passionate about reaching and resonating with our customers, it can be confusing & challenging but it is incredibly rewarding, when we make that connection.
    While we have only been open (less than) six months, the people we have met have been incredibly appreciative and supportive of our venture here in St Louis. We meet many of our customers through (this blog(!), foot traffic, from The Chase, the restaurant scene, word of mouth and referrals, we also work very hard on our outreach through social media to bring awareness not only to our shop, but to our neighborhood as a whole. We are working in conjunction with the CWE Business Community Improvement District who is planning a visit with WHERE Magazine to bring in local hotel concierges/ mgmt to help promote our businesses.
    There is a palpable commitment from locals to shop local- which may not be as easy as it once was given the increased traffic, parking patrol and digital age, but we also know we must create a destination, a reason to seek us out- for us, everyday that we open our doors, we open them with the offerings of curated goods, conversations, a shared experience and a commitment to customer service.
    In regards to the subject of hours: it has been our intention as the spring /summer/fall hours get under way, to stay open into the evening hours to welcome evening strollers, diners & neighbors to shop…to visit… and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine along the way! CHEERS!

  7. Reply

    James P

    April 4, 2019

    Great article. I will miss Cassie’s in the CWE location and agree with most of the comments on here. To the two above mine that recommend altering business hours based on the neighborhood needs etc. in food service, people do not come into your restaurant to steal. In retail, especially in the Central West End, people will steal blindly from you at any time of day which hurts your bottom line and your business. The Police are in no hurry to run and make reports either. Ask employees who work along Maryland or Euclid where they park and you might be surprised to hear they either pay on the street, pay for the garage, or park down close to McPherson because it’s free and they risk a late night walk back to the car or even worse, vandalism, which happened to my car. We also get parking tickets like everyone else because we’re working and get caught up being too busy to notice time has run out. I applaud Cassie. Struggling with restraints from the neighborhood and landlord have forced her to find resolution to keep her brand alive. I know she will be successful at the new location!

  8. Reply

    Cassie Buell

    April 23, 2019

    I surely appreciate all the good wishes, and I hope to see my lovely customers at our newest location, which will be our 4th. To clarify, Cassie’s stayed open until 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and was/is open 7 days a week. To further clarify, the decline was never in foot traffic; the CWE remains a busy area. What declined was people shopping, actually making purchases. And let’s not forget the skyrocketing property tax. That increase was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Thanks for all of your support over the years, Nicki.

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