Aug 5, 2007
Closet closing door on mall: Another local shop heads downtownBy Harris

Reba Ruth, manager of Carol’s Closet, displays a new line of fall clothing Friday afternoon. The longtime women’s clothing store has become one of the last local businesses to leave Lakeshore Mall. The business is located on the square in downtown Gainesville.

Carol’s Closet, a women’s specialty store, has moved to the downtown Gainesville square after two decades at Lakeshore Mall.

The store opened Wednesday at 1114 Washington St.

“We had been looking for a new location for some time,” store manager Reba Ruth said. “We wanted to be closer to other locally-owned specialty shops.”

The store carries a line of women’s clothing, ranging from dressy to casual. Its history in Gainesville dates back to 1971, when owner Carol Roper opened Fashion Villa at Sherwood Plaza on Enota Drive.

In 1987, the store was renamed and moved to Lakeshore Mall as a part of the expansion that included the area from JCPenney to Sears.

Ruth, who has lived in Gainesville since 1958 and has been associated with Roper since 1975, said downtown has become a center for unique businesses.

“Every time I walk outside, I think about the old square, which was the center of all retail business when I moved here,” she said. “Now there are so many nice places to eat and shop. You’re getting a good variety of shopping on the square which has once again become a wonderful local shopping area.”

In addition to clothing, Carol’s Closet is a dealer for Brighton accessories. The line includes jewelry items, small leather goods, women’s belts and handbags.

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