Knox-area gift shop owner closing doors at end of year

After 33 years in business, Jolinda Tharan has decided she needs to slow down a bit.

Tharan has owned and operated the Countryside Crafts on Canoe Ripple Road in Knox since 1986.

“It is a bittersweet thing for sure,” she said. “I am just tired and I want to be able to do things. When you own a business even when you are off you are not off.

“It has been great,” Tharan added. “I don’t dread coming to work. A lot of people are very sad to see the store close but happy for me.”

Tharan has seen a major change in retail.

“I just know it is time the way retail is changing,” she said. “I do not want to do internet sales. That’s not me. I am a touch and feel type of shopper and that is when I want for my customers,” Tharan added.

“When I started I sold cross-stitch, tool painting and a lot of crafts. I sell none of that now. I got out of that when a lot of the bigger stores got into it. I went to home dcor. I sell a lot of jewelry,” said Tharan.

There has also been a change in her customers.

“The people in their 20s and 30s want to buy online. They aren’t into decorating,” she said. “They like things simple.

“Many of my older customers come in and will say they don’t need anything. I understand that. I am losing customers until this new generation comes in and wants things. Everything happens in a cycle,” said Tharan.

Tharan said she “was always in business” as she at one time worked at the C&K Coal Co. office. She quit when her son was born, and when her daughter was three she opened her first store.

Tharan will operate a smaller store at her house after she closes her shop.

“It will be way, way less than what I have now,” she said. “I will post on Facebook and email when I am open. If the sign by the road says I am open, then I am open. I won’t be tied to it.”

She will also continue to be active in her community.

“I help out at the church and other places,” she said. “There are a lot of people waiting for me. I also go and help out with my three year-old grandson once a week. I just want to be the one who comes down, spoils him and leaves.

“I am ready for my next chapter,” said Tharan.