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Shades Unlimited Closing on Dec. 31

Owner Linda Mann said it's time to consolidate her business into one location.

On Linda Mann's first day of work at Shades Unlimited in 1997, she knew she was going to own the store one day.

"Two years later I bought it," Mann said. "I'd always knew I wanted to own my own business, and this was the perfect opportunity."

The sunglass shop at 103 Main St. has served Annapolis customers for 31 years, but Mann said that will come to an end on Dec. 31 when she closes the store's doors for good.

"There were a lot of tears over the decision," Mann said. "There's just not enough business in town to support two stores."

Mann also owns Shades of the Bay, which she opened in 2008 as an upscale compliment to Shades Unlimited. The two stores overlap on product lines but carry different models. Shades of the Bay's prices range from $40 to $700 while Shades Unlimited ranges from $4 to $400.

Shades of the Bay will remain open.

"This store drew a lot more customers away from the other store than I thought it would," Mann said.

She plans to move the better selling sunglasses to Shades of the Bay and sell off the rest. She's also moving her staff. Mann was proud to say that none of her employees will be losing their jobs as a result of the store's closing.

"I like to think of it as a consolidation," Mann said. "We're not going out of business. We're improving upon what we have."

While she's excited about the future, Mann said she will miss Shades Unlimited and the memories it holds for her.

"I had friends that worked there growing up," Mayor Josh Cohen said. "It's a shame."

Mann sees her store's closing as another sign of the changing face of downtown Annapolis. Steven's Hardware announced last week that it will be going out of business after more than 50 years.

She said several people have already inquired about taking over the Main Street location, but she didn't know what kind of business might be coming in.

"I don't believe that spot will be vacant very long," Mann said. "It's a great location. I'm really sad to let it go."

Daniel Brannon December 12, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I love Shades of the Bay. Linda Mann is an amazing lady!

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