While the news that Janis Jewelry & Gifts is closing won't be a surprise to anyone who has recently visited East First Street — big, bright "sale" signs have covered nearly every window of the shop for about two months — the time to make a last visit is quickly approaching.
Owner Janis Schroeder plans to close-up the nearly decade-long fixture of downtown Newberg on Aug.19 and retire, finally yielding to the advice of her doctor and the requests of her husband.
"It's been wonderful and I'll miss all of my customers," she said. "Most of customers are awesome and I feel bad that they won't have this anymore, because they've all been coming in and saying 'oh my God, what are we going to do now' … I do feel bad that they won't have anything else, but, you know, I had to do what I had to do."
Schroeder has been holding a "going out of business" sale since June 22, plastering the front of her more than 4,000-square-foot store with signs of her intentions and promoting special sales on her Facebook page.
Her retirement from Janis' is actually the second time she has retired, having first been a teacher before becoming a shopkeeper. She explained that she started a teaching career in 1990, focusing her career on remedial reading with students in high-poverty middle schools.
That same year, though, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an "unpredictable," potentially-disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
She kept teaching for about 12 years before retiring from that career, and then she quickly started making jewelry that she would sell at local fairs.
That grew into selling it in local shops before eventually opening a shop of her own about 10 years ago. Moving to its current storefront at 616 E. First St. about eight years ago, the store has grown to sell her jewelry, a large selection of handbags, clothes, scarves and nearly any other kind of gift item imaginable.
While not delving too deeply into how MS has impacted her running of the store and her decision to retire, Schroeder acknowledged it has been stressful and she's relied on her sister to manage record-keeping for the business – although she noted she's still more than capable when it comes to customer service and ordering.
In conversation, though, she focuses the decision more on her husband, noting how he's taken to cooking all of her meals during her retail career despite his growing desire for them to take their RV and hit the open road together.
"He will have his wife back," Schroeder said. "We are looking forward to having time to heal together and do a little traveling and maybe a few other things that retired people are supposed to enjoy."
They'll start by heading off to Madras for a week after closing and then cleaning out the store when they return.
Schroeder plans to stay busy, though, as she tends to the house and garden she said she's been neglecting for a decade while also continuing to make and sell the "found by chance" jewelry and loofah soaps her customers have come to expect.
She will continue to sell those items through her business phone number (503-554-9500) and her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ShopJanis/). T's Antiques, currently down the block at 612 E. First St., is slated to move into Janis' storefront, both stores confirmed.