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The owners of a Sykesville clothing boutique have announced they will soon close up shop, and a bath and body store will replace it.

A La Mode owner Aime McCaslin said in an interview that her family’s move to Ocean City contributed to their decision to close the women’s accessories and clothing boutique.

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The owners explained in a post on the A La Mode Facebook page that they moved three hours away to Ocean City after their Ellicott City location, which they opened in October 2015, was flooded in 2018 for the second time.

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“We own a condo in Ocean City, and after the second Ellicott City flood, we lost so much that we were basically trying to gain whatever ground we could to get ahead. So, we relocated the family to our condo in hopes that we would be able to just recover some of our losses; we lost pretty much everything both floods," McCaslin said. “So, we moved here for a couple of reasons; the first, obviously was for financial reasons, but the second was for some very necessary healing for the family because it was such a traumatic thing to go through twice.”

They said they thought the move would just be temporary but found it was a good place for them and their kids.

“As business owners, our goal has always been to be a constant presence in the store and it has become increasingly difficult for us to do this from 3 hours away," the Facebook post read. “We have dedicated countless hours not only to our own business, but also to the common goal of growing Sykesville Main Street through various events, marketing, etc. The logistics have made this part increasingly harder.”

The historic district of Ellicott City, founded in 1772, was devastated by torrential rains and flooding in 2016 and again just two years later. While some businesses have reopened each time, the owners of others decided to relocate or move on to different ventures.

A La Mode opened in Sykesville in 2011, with the goal of creating a “unique shopping environment where customers can find fabulous gifts, hand crafted baubles and brands they know and love," according to the boutique’s website. McCaslin started the business with her husband Chris, but mainly runs it on her own now since he found another employment opportunity, she said.

According to McCaslin, she still plans to be a part of Sykesville’s Main Street through Downtown Sykesville Connection — and even her soon-to-be-former space.

McCaslin said Be Blends, which sells essential oils and other bath and body products, will open in the space this spring. The owners of A La Mode plan to work with Be Blends to offer some of their products.

“So, she’s [the owner of Be Blends] hoping to go into the space with a collective concept, which would include other vendors and we really want to remain present in whatever way possible in Sykesville because we invested so much time to the community,” McCaslin said. “We really want to remain present even if it’s in a small scale; she has reached out to us to be a part of that collective concept in her new space.”

Be Blends had sold some of its products at A La Mode’s Sykesville location, according to its website.

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The owners also took to Facebook to announce their excitement of the new space.

“All the rumors and whispers and speculation are true...this spring we are FINALLY coming to Sykesville Main Street!! You’ve been asking us for years to open a store in Sykesville, and we’ve been looking for years for a space on Main Street, and now it’s here!” the company posted on their Facebook page. “Although our store will undoubtedly carry our full Be Blends line of handcrafted, natural bath, body, and home products, hand poured soy candles, and aromatherapy jewelry, we also will be bringing a unique collective concept to Sykesville where we hope to bring together other local makers and artisans who share the same passion and love for small, local, and family owned businesses.”

Be Blends was also affected by Ellicott City flooding; owner Stacey Ventura told The Baltimore Sun in 2018 that she had moved in almost all of her store’s inventory into a new location there and had planned to open the store just days before the flood.

A La Mode will remain in the space until the end of February and will continue to accept gift cards and exchanges until Jan. 26, after which all sales will be final. The Be Blends owners hope to open in the spring, according to their Facebook post.

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“This town is truly a gem, so we encourage you to continue to support it in any and all ways possible. Small businesses need you to survive,” the Facebook post said.

McCaslin said she doesn’t have any plans to open another store in Ellicott City, but they are hoping to be able to open a store in Ocean City — though they haven’t signed any leases.

Julie Della-Maria, executive director of the Downtown Sykesville Connection, said Sykesville will feel the loss of the store, but still plans to have them involved in Main Street in some kind of way in the future.

“She [McCaslin] has been a part of Main Street since 2011, which is the year that the Sykesville Main Street Association, the former designation of my group, was born. So, she was part of that group of new business owners, young and crazy and active and stuff — she’s part of our story,” Della-Maria said. “So, absolutely we would still like to have her come; I was hoping she would still be on Main Street with us for the Art and Wine Festival.”

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