APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Downtown Appleton is losing an important piece of its charm. Hey, Daisy clothing store is closing after 16 years.

Sarah Hickey and her sister Rachel Aitken opened the boutique in De Pere in 2002. Hey, Daisy specializes in trendy, affordable clothing and accessories for women in Northeast Wisconsin. The Appleton location, the store’s second location, opened in 2005.

Courtesy of Hey, Daisy

“I opened this store when I was 25, and I lived down here. So this store we always said was like my baby. Obviously, it’s been a really tough year for all businesses, but especially for small businesses and especially apparel businesses,” says Sarah Hickey.

Last year, the store closed down for 8 weeks in March. The owners created a website to help generate sales, but the online sales weren’t enough to keep the Appleton storefront open.

“When we first closed last March, we weren’t sure how long we would be closed, and then obviously being closed for eight weeks it just kind of took a toll on the business in general. Overall, it’s just really stressful to have multiple locations,” says Hickey.

Since the pandemic, the owners have seen a significant decrease in traffic inside the store. Downtown Appleton is normally busy with a number of different events, but with the lack of public gatherings and people choosing to shop online, the business is taking a major hit.

“Obviously, the big draw downtown is events and different things and you know different things that we see big spikes in our sales, and without having those we’re just not as busy as we’d like to be,” says Hickey.

“It’s so sad, it’s really sad. I understand it’s a hard time to keep it going. I think it’s been a staple down here. People love coming downtown and having the unique shopping experiences, so it’ll be really sad to see them go,” says longtime customer Kristin Piper.

Hey, Daisy has 3 locations: De Pere, Howard, Appleton, and one seasonal location in Door County. The Appleton location will be closing later this month. An exact date hasn’t been set. For more information on Hey, Daisy, click here.