Moving on in Morristown: Boutique 161 closing its doors, for all the right reasons

Connie Hagelin is closing up shop at Boutique 161 in Morristown" 'It's been a wonderful time...but there has to be a balance.' Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Connie Hagelin will miss her customers. And she will miss her staff. But she won’t miss the responsibilities of running a business when Boutique 161 closes in Morristown on Dec. 21, 2019.

“It’s not an easy thing to do to walk away from this, but it’s smart for me to do it,” said Hagelin, 71, who wants to spend more time with her 2 1/2-yer-old grandson, Troy.

Two weeks ago, Hagelin’s best friend died of pancreatic cancer.  Her husband passed away in 2016.  Her sister endured a heart transplant.

“It helps put your life in perspective, when you have great success and great loss,” Hagelin said on Wednesday, amidst closing signs and half-empty racks.

FAMILY BUSINESS: Connie and Christyn Hagelin, mother and daughter, at grand opening of their Boutique 161 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
FAMILY BUSINESS: Connie and Christyn Hagelin, mother and daughter, at grand opening of their Boutique 161 in Morristown in 2014. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

With her daughter Christyn (Morristown High ’02), she opened the ladies apparel shop Top This on Pine Street in 2011. They moved near the intersection of South and Elm streets three years later, renaming the business for its South Street address.

“It’s been a wonderful time,” Hagelin said of their eight-year run. It’s also been all-consuming.

“I’m tired of declining everything. I didn’t even have time to go the jazz festival on the Green. I miss everything. There has to be balance,” said the Morris Township resident, a former manager and vice president for Bamberger’s.

MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Mayor Tim Dougherty cuts ribbon at Boutique 161 with owners Connie and Christyn Hagelin. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Mayor Tim Dougherty cuts ribbon at Boutique 161 with owners Connie and Christyn Hagelin. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Hagelin said she hopes to find time to resume volunteering for the Morris Educational Foundation, which she chaired prior to launching the boutique. “I like helping people,” she said.

One thing she knows: You can’t put a business like Boutique 161 on auto-pilot.

“You have to be all in, or don’t open your doors,” said Hagelin, who’s not sure what business will be filling her space.

“Our customers have been so kind,” she said. “But if you have the luxury of being able to walk away, you have to be true to yourself, and to what’s important.”

Mayor Tim Dougherty with owners Connie and Christyn Hagelin and their staff at Boutique 161. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mayor Tim Dougherty with owners Connie and Christyn Hagelin and their staff at Boutique 161 in December 2014. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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