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Substance shuts shop in Short North

Christina Getachew is the owner of Substance, a boutique located at 783 N. High St. which is set to close in June.  Credit: Courtesy of Substance

Christina Getachew is the owner of Substance, a boutique located at 783 N. High St. which is set to close in June.
Credit: Courtesy of Substance

Amid the rows of boutiques and specialty shops in the Short North sits Substance, a clothing store for women and what some local shop owners and workers called a model for shops and workers in the community.

It was announced Monday that Substance, one of the longest-standing retail shops in the Short North, is set to close in June as the owner, Christina Getachew, is moving to South Carolina because her husband was offered a job there. Her second store in Cincinnati is also slated to close.

“We are a real pillar of the shopping community here,” said Dylan Telerski, copywriter for the store.

“This isn’t a decision I’ve come to lightly, and more than anything else, I came to it through a desire to make my family my primary focus,” Getachew said in the blog post where she announced the closing.

Getachew was not available to comment Wednesday.

The store, located at 783 North High Street, has been open for more than eight years, and specializes in sustainable and fair trade clothing, said store manager Maddie Etter.

“We carry environmentally-conscious brands and we also recycle everything we get through the store. We order a lot of stuff that has a low carbon footprint in terms of how they ship to us,” Etter said.

Short North shoppers and business owners alike have been reaching out since the announcement, Telerski said.

“We are pretty bummed. They are some of our best friends in our neighborhood,” said Josh Quinn, co-owner of Tigertree, located next to Substance. “Christina was a big mentor and inspiration for us and we’ve always been good friends with them.”

Others have taken to social media, tweeting and commenting on Instagram about the closure of the boutique.

“As word is getting out, other stores are talking to us and saying they will miss us,” Telerski said.

With its specific commitment to environmental clothing and veteran status in the Short North, some are skeptical if another store will be able to fill the shoes Substance is leaving along with its soon-to-be-vacated lot.

“The spaces turn over quickly here so I’m sure that something quickly will go in, but I think (Substance) brought a completely different viewpoint than almost anyone else here. I don’t know if anyone else will fill that exact niche,” Quinn said.

There might still be a chance that Substance can continue on if another owner steps in for Getachew. Offers to buy the business are still being taken until April 30.

“There is a potential it might not close, but right now but we are just treating like we are,” Etter said.

June 21 is scheduled to be the last day for Substance if there is not another owner selected, she said.

“(Getachew) is focusing on family time and it’s really hard to run a business remotely,” Etter said.

Both Etter and Telerski described Getachew as inspirational during their experience working at Substance, yet despite the loss, supported her decision to shut down operations for family.

“I definitely respect the reasoning behind it,” Quinn said, echoing both Substance workers’ sentiments. “I think it’s good she gets to spend more time with her family.”

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