With their lease up and business sluggish, Fran and Larry Heit are closing Cricket, one of their two clothing stores on Main Street.
The lease was the main factor in deciding to close the store after 26 years, said Fran Heit, who will continue to operate Reeds a few doors to the north.
“Also with the COVID situation we have lost a lot of vendors,” she said. “And many of our trade shows have been shut down, so it’s been increasingly difficult to fill two stores.”
The Heits opened Reeds in 1989, Cricket in 1994 and Mirabelle in 2004. Heit said business has been down ever since the first round of wildfires in 2017, when she and Larry closed Mirabelle.
“The fires have made a big dent in business,” she said. “People are thinking about where am I going to live? Do I have essential things?”
“And then there’s travel. People see these giant fires on the news, and they’re not sure about coming to the Napa Valley.”
Merchants tend to bemoan the influx of second homeowners, but Heit said she’s done plenty of business with people who’ve bought second homes in St. Helena and then moved here permanently to escape big-city life.
She added that during her years on Main Street she’s seen Saturdays get slower, since locals tend to shop during the week.
Heit said she doesn’t have a firm closing date. That will depend partly on how COVID-19 restrictions affect Cricket and its vendors.
Regardless of Cricket’s demise, “We appreciate everyone who’s ever walked through the door,” she said. “We’ll still have Reeds, and we’ll make it stronger and better.”
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JESSE DUARTE’S MEMORABLE STORIES FROM 2020
Jesse Duarte's memorable St. Helena Star stories from 2020
Here are five of the stories I most enjoyed telling in 2020, from the firefighters who saved St. Helena to the hard-working families who are building their future homes at Brenkle Court.
It was fascinating to hear St. Helena firefighters tell stories about defending the town from the Glass Fire.
I looked back fondly on the 14 years I spent working with former editor Dave Stoneberg, who became my close friend.
The most inspiring story I got to tell in 2020 was of the families working together to build their future homes at Our Town St. Helena's Brenk…
Interviewing the friends and colleagues of Cori Montez, a longtime SHPD community service officer who died in June, made me wish I'd gotten to…
Public records requests helped me shed light on how negotiations fell apart between Napa Valley College and the City of St. Helena, which was …
You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.