A longtime fixture of Ottawa’s downtown is shuttering its doors for good this winter.
“It’s a good thing, but it’s also sad,” said Rose Rice, owner of Prairie Rose Gifts and Tuxedo Rental.
After many years in the gift and tuxedo industry, Rice has decided to close her store — located at 232 S. Main St., Ottawa — toward the end of December, and will be holding closing sales in-store and online until then.
“It’s just time to retire,” Rice said of her decision. “I’ll miss going out to shop, and that sort of thing. We’ve made lots and lots of friends through the business over the years. It’s been good.”
However, for those who value her skill at sizing and providing rental tuxedos, Rice won’t be leaving the Ottawa business scene completely.
“I’m still going to do tuxedos — I’m going to do them at Cherry Blossom Boutique,” she said adding the business is located at 2232 S. King St. “I like doing the tuxes — it’s fun.”
After all, providing tuxedos has been one of the best parts of her business, she said.
“We have fun with the kids and their tuxes,” she said. “Prom season is always fun.”
Rice, a former parole officer, founded Prairie Rose after exposure to the gift industry by a friend.
“My friend got me started — she was my co-worker,” Rice said. “Opening it was easy. We did shows all around, and I had a booth in Lawrence, Topeka, Spring Hill, and over at the [Ottawa] antique mall. Every week I went somewhere, and it was just easier to be in one place all the time.”
After five years of working shows and booths, Rice settled the business into a store front.
“It just kind of grew from that,” she said. “We’ve been open as a story front for a little over 20 years, now.”
And while opening the business was straightforward, closing up is proving to be more complicated, Rice said. To help with the process, she said she has hired a business that specializes in stock liquidation through online auctions.
“It should help move things along. Before, I was just kinda winging it,” she said, laughing.
Though she likes to keep things light-hearted, tears have and will be shed over the store’s closing, Rice said.
“I’ll miss the people the most,” she said. “I still see customers come in who started with me, all those years ago.”