After five years in Dinkytown, the gift shop SaraCura has thrown its final party.
On Saturday, the store welcomed customers with belly dancing lessons, henna, live music and Middle Eastern food.
The shop, which has been in Dinkytown since 2007, will officially close its doors April 8.
SaraCura is a gift shop that specializes in belly dance supplies like hip scarves and finger cymbals, henna, work from local artists and many different types of jewelry.
A majority of the merchandise is made by local artists and the owner Sarah Cura herself.
Prior to the store’s opening in Dinkytown, it was located in Calhoun Square in Uptown for seven years.
Now as her five-year Dinkytown lease approaches its end, Cura has decided it’s time to move on to something new.
“My lease is up, and running a business is a lot of work. So I’m a little tired,” she said. “It’ll be really nice for me to not work nearly as much.”
She hopes to continue to travel to festivals and teach yoga.
The store isn’t closing because of a lack of business, Cura said.
“[Business] is probably better now than it’s ever been.”
But it hasn’t been an easy five years for Cura, and she’s ready for a break.
“Starting a business in 2007 when the economy just went way down probably wasn’t the best idea, but who can know?” she said. “It’s always been a struggle, but somehow I managed to keep the doors open.”
Cura said about half of her customers are University of Minnesota students. She also has many loyal customers from her days in Uptown.
Aisha Ben Hassine, a computer science freshman, said she was sad to hear about SaraCura’s closing.
She’s only shopped at SaraCura twice but really enjoyed how unique the store was.
“It’s a good place to buy gifts. If you go to Target and buy jewelry, [the person] might already have [the gift].”
Ben Hassine said she hopes that a small, local store similar to SaraCura moves into the Dinkytown spot.
Cura said her landlord has been in contact with some businesses about the spot, but no one had made a commitment to replace SaraCura.
SaraCura’s departure from Dinkytown is another instance of a larger trend that is changing the makeup of the area.
In recent years, more restaurants and national chains like Five Guys Burgers and Fries and CVS Pharmacy have moved into Dinkytown.
Yet not everyone thinks Dinkytown’s new image as a restaurant hot spot is for the best.
“I feel very sad that SaraCura is closing because I feel that Dinkytown is losing a part of its soul that just won’t be replaced by a pizza shop or something else,” said Ken Goughnour, a SaraCura employee since February and a recent University graduate.
Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, has watched the neighborhood transform over the years and would like to see it maintain a mixture of businesses.
“Dinkytown used to be full of gift shops more than restaurants, and now it just sort of seems to be a reversal,” he said.
“I’d like to see [SaraCura’s replacement] as another gift store or clothing store and not a restaurant. The restaurants … they’re cutting the pie too many ways right now. So, for their health, I hope it’s not another restaurant.”
Cura said her landlord doesn’t really want a restaurant in the spot, so it’ll probably be another retail store.
SaraCura will be having multiple store-wide sales as it prepares to close in a month.
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