Specialty business hope to weather downturn

By Chuck Weber email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX)-The latest numbers show the economy remains weak, and could stay slow for awhile. A couple of specialty businesses in Palm Beach Gardens say they're only now feeling the worst of the recession.

Barbara Castricone, owner of Tulle, a store selling mostly dance shoes and attire, says business started to fall about six months ago. "Even in the last month or so, it really dropped down," says Castricone. "So I'm starting to feel it more recently than maybe others who felt it six or eight months ago."

It's very much the same story right next door at Campus Town, where Lee Pagan sells college sports wear. Pagan says his sales really started to fall by late winter-early spring.

But in spite of the recent drop offs, both store owners have reasons to believe they can at least hold their own in trying times.

At Tulle Castricone states, "I think when it comes to your kids, parents will definitely do what they can to keep their kids into their passions."

Claudette Watson, in the store buying shoes for her daughter, agrees. "I don't think any parent would scale back on these kinds of things at first," she said.

And at Campus Town, Pagan is counting on college football season to boost his sales. "People really enjoy their college sports," says Pagan. So people will always find an extra 20 dollars for a college team hat? Replies Pagan, "Correct, or to replace last year's hat that's probably a little beat up."

Castricone says in August she is actually opening a second location in Stuart, an area under served by dance retailers. "We've decided to take that leap of faith and hope that things go well," says Castricone.