Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

South Silver Spring store closes after three years

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Nearly three years after opening its doors in south Silver Spring, Alchemy’s owner Brenda Smoak has announced the store has sold its last piece of artwork.

Smoak said she decided to close the shop because of rising rents in the neighborhood and too few customers to support keeping her business in town. The store opened with 25 artists selling their work to 146.

‘‘As usual, there isn’t enough attention being paid to south Silver Spring. When you have a little business like mine, and you don’t have enough support for it, than you go under,” Smoak said. ‘‘But it’s a bigger loss for Silver Spring than just losing me. It’s losing, for 146 artists, that opportunity. Where do they go now?”

Charlotte Reid, a downtown Silver Spring resident and Alchemy customer since it opened, said she considered the shop a ‘‘community center” of sorts.

‘‘It was something new, it was something different in Silver Spring. It really added something to the artistic culture,” Reid said.

Smoak said she would remain in arts in her next endeavor, and hoped to continue running the Silver Spring Artist’s Market at Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive on Saturday afternoons.

‘‘It’s devastating for me having to walk away from it,” Smoak said. ‘‘It shows that you can have all these really nice, positive folks, but if you can’t pay the rent, you can’t be here.”