Dinkytown Ragstock to close up shop

by Michael Krieger

Marking the third business closure in Dinkytown this year, Ragstock will end its run of more than two decades in the area.

Ragstock – which sells new, used and vintage clothing – has occupied its 14th Avenue location since 1979. The store will close in two weeks.

John Rimarcik, the building owner who leases space to Ragstock, said the clothing store suffered from declining sales.

“(The owner’s) business had actually gone down,” Rimarcik said. “His sales were not strong.”

Rimarcik said he notified the clothing store last year about increasing its rent. Since then, Ragstock paid rent on a month-to-month basis.

“They couldn’t afford to pay more rent,” Rimarcik said.

Ragstock was popular for selling quality clothing at discounted prices, said University senior Karyn Smith.

“Students actually had an opportunity to afford clothing here,” she said. “I think it was good for campus.”

Michelle Parsneau, a cosmetologist at neighboring Dave’s Dinkytown Hairstylists, said Ragstock’s closure affects the entire community but hurts University students most.

“We’re losing the small businesses,” Parsneau said. “All the unique things that make Dinkytown Dinkytown are leaving.”

Parsneau said she believes competition from larger department stores in the Quarry shopping center near campus have accelerated the recent collapse of Dinkytown businesses.

“In the last several years, they’ve taken out the movie theater, drug store, hardware store and now Ragstock,” Parsneau said.

“I feel sorry for the students,” Parsneau said.

Ragstock owner Mike Finn declined to comment on the closure circumstances or the store’s financial status.

“It was a surprise,” said manager Fred Pomroy.

Ragstock follows a procession of businesses leaving the Dinkytown area.

Simm’s Hardware, formerly the oldest business in Dinkytown, closed its century-old store at the end of March. The Borealis Caffe unexpectedly locked its doors under an eviction threat in February.

Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, said he was not alarmed by the recent closings.

“I wouldn’t say it reveals anything about Dinkytown,” Johnson said.

A restaurant owner recently expressed interest in the former Borealis location, Johnson said, and a new Mediterranean restaurant will open in the Dinkydome – both of which are encouraging signs.

“I think it’s cyclical. We see a number of businesses coming and going,” Johnson said.

Ragstock is currently selling all merchandise at discounted rates in an effort to clean out the stock.

Rimarcik, who also owns Annie’s Parlour, said he did not have plans for the void Ragstock will leave in his building.


Michael Krieger welcomes comments at [email protected]