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.
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.
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.”