Country House in Franklin Street, Manuka, is closing its doors after 26 years of trade, with owner Marlene McCarthy frustrated by what she sees as the decline of the shopping and restaurant precinct.
Ms McCarthy said Manuka had changed since she opened the store in 1993, selling antiques and French and Italian accessories.
"Rents are huge in Manuka, above the market rate. The condition of the building is really bad. And foot traffic in Manuka is dwindling," she said. Added to that is having to trade through a likely lengthy construction phase with the redevelopment of the Capitol Theatre site across the road.
Ms McCarthy said she was not against the redevelopment, just the coming disruption.
"We need development in Manuka," she said.
Closing the doors on the business was bittersweet, with her daughter Anna helping to run the business.
"I'm ready for it. I'm a very pragmatic person," she said. "When I came here, Manuka was a really buzzing, boutique centre.
"It's not that any longer, it's become very ordinary. There are fewer than a handful of really special shops left and the rest are franchises or mediocre."
Ms McCathy blamed the ACT government for allowing Manuka to fall into decline. She said even simple things such as taking Floriade into the suburbs had somehow bypassed Manuka. The building her business is in is owned by an interstate trust.
"The ACT government does not give a damn about the area. Either does the landlord," she said.
Ms McCarthy said the sale of Millers of Manuka several years ago signaled a change of times for retail, changing the "demographics" of shoppers. The closure of jewellers Briolette had been another blow.
She had faith Manuka would pick up, but how well depended on the quality of the redevelopment of the Capitol Theatre and Stuart Flats sites.
"Manuka will rejuvenate in eight to 10 years," she said.
No firm date is set but Country House will close before the end of the year.
Ms McCarthy said when she closes the doors for the last time, she will probably being feeling "exhausted".
"I've loved it. I've had enormous satisfaction out of what I've done. Enormous satisfaction out of the hunt for something quality and different. And I've met some wonderful people and I'm going to miss that," she said.