Another Norwalk business folds: Fancy That closes doors

Council members support NEDC in tough times.
Scott Seitz2
Feb 6, 2014


Norwalk city council members said they remain in the corner of the Norwalk Economic Development Corp. (NEDC) despite a series of announced business closings in recent times.

City council funds the NEDC about $58,000 each year, with $55,000 of that going to the NEDC directly and $3,000 being allocated to the Main Street Norwalk program.

The business news in Norwalk recently hasn't been pretty.

Janesville Acoustics announced in August it would close by the end of 2014, putting nearly 300 people out of work.

EPIC Technologies officials said last month it would close its Norwalk facility doors, leaving 85 more employees jobless.

Just this month, Kmart, Crider Jewelers and now Fancy That all announced closings.

The upscale flower shop at 28 E. Main St. opened in the summer of 2011, the creation of co-owners and operators Judy Mahan and Rachael Mayer, both of New London. At the time they opened the store, Mayer and Mahan already had a combined 46 years experience in the floral business. They met while working as employees at another flower shop.

Touted as an upscale, eclectic and modern shop, Fancy That offered a good selection of exotic flowers, including orchids, calla lilies, hydrangeas and anemones.

The NEDC is led by executive director Ellen Heinz, who has held that position since January 2009. Heinz's major function, according to city officials, is to retain and attract business.

A story that included council members' thoughts about Heinz and the NEDC was published in Tuesday's Norwalk Reflector. So you don't miss stories such as this one, you can subscribe to the Norwalk Reflector to receive home delivery and/or the e-paper, which is a complete digital replica of each issue. For more information, call (419) 668-3771 or click HERE.



It's becoming quite the trend in Norwalk, wonder which business is going to close next? As the old saying goes...abandon ship!!


Well it's kind of hard to stay open when you don't get enough business. With the economy the way it is the last thing people are thinking about buying is flowers!


Come on... there are 2 100% flower shops in this little all the grocery stores like IGA which has a nice section besides the one by the city hall is alot easier to park at for quick p/u's. It was only a matter of time.
Do you really think there are that many romancer's in town?
That many with disposable income for bouquets?

J Cooper

The jobs, jobs, jobs, mayor will be surprised, form a committee and promise brighter times, again.

Everyone is fam...

So sad about this! Fancy That did beautiful work and I highly recommended them to everyone I know. Their prices were great and even more important, their customer service blew away every other flower shop in town. It's a shame what Norwalk has become with jobs, businesses, and opportunities.


The hits just keep on coming!

Sad to see...


These are the same tings I heard in the early 90s. Norwalk is a ghost town, the city will be dead in 2 years. It was once the end of the world when VanDresser closed. This is all cyclical there will always be ups and downs. The problem is that some people will adapt, and others will sit on their @sses and continue to b!tch about their unemployment checks not being extended for years on end, or vowing never to work in a non-union shop.


Re: "This is all cyclical there will always be ups and downs."

Perhaps. But what is the catalyst that will help to change the direction?

It takes energy to overcome inertia.

There are some 'economic deserts' that will remain such for decades if not potentially centuries (Detroit, East St. Louis, et. al).


With Obamacare, Why work?

Whiskey Tango F...

I have considered a restaurant many times over. Everyone tells me to do it, but with no jobs, who will come. An area with 8 pizza places all competing for the cheapest pies is no place for me. Overhead and expenses take out all of these places. By the way Obamacare will create tons of jobs, many full time positions will be replace with TWO or EVEN THREE part time jobs! Jobs can be found everywhere, walmart, mcdonald's, burger king, multiple gas stations etc. etc. etc.

Let's all come out and say it... What everyone wants can no longer happen. No business can support $25/hr, healthcare, and retirement for someone to hit a button on a press, or watch a machine. This is what everyone wants to come, but it can't and won't. Start going to ehove and get some skills, go to Terra and start a program online, and start learning an actual trade.

By the way, the government defines a job as someone who is no longer on unemployment.


Re: "I have considered a restaurant many times over."

I had two ideas, but decided that I didn't wish to risk the capital in this economic environment:

1. A donut shop. Perhaps a Dunkin' Donuts franchise on Milan Ave.

2. An eBay shop. Lot of money tied up locally in antiques, et. al.

Some retailers I've spoken with are just 'hanging on' financially and their establishments have essentially become 'labors of love.'

"You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows."

- Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"


I like the dunkin donuts idea. I love their apple fritters and jelly munckins. The eBay shop not so much. Whiskeys idea of a restaurant is a very good one as well. This town needs more quality choices for a good meal. Thing is, itll never be right time til u do it. If it doesn't make it at least u can say u tried and it wasn't for you. Dunkin donuts works all day. Especially with a drive thru. Location would be the key factor. This town could sure use you if u are in fact able to do this. The beauty of owning a business is that u never know what can happen but I guess u already never know


Re: "Whiskeys idea of a restaurant is a very good one as well."

Statistically, restaurants have one the highest mortality rate of any sm. business venture. Tastes change, etc.

Re: eBay shop.

The poor tend to tie up capital in 'things' that depreciate whereas the wealthy tend to purchase that which tends to appreciate (real estate, stocks, bonds, et. al).

Read: "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

In essence an eBay store could potentially unlock the capital stored in those non-liquid assets ('things') and give people cash to spend and/or save.

Maybe once, but now the idea looks like ‘money down a rat hole.’

BTW: One of the fastest growing industries for several decades has been the storage unit business. We Americans LOVE to buy crap and can't seem to throw it away.


Re: "The beauty of owning a business,"

Trust me Sport, I've made money owning businesses, lost money and broke even.

If you have any capital and wanna risk it - go for it.


I do everyday. Ups and downs but it looks like its gonna be alright. I'm learning it just takes time and patience. I haven't seen too many food places not make it. I'll call u grandpa.


Re: "I do everyday."

Good for you. In what industry is your business?

Re: "I haven't seen too many food places not make it."

Well then go talk to some area privately owned restaurant owners Sport, I'm sure many (if not most) will be willing to sell you their business. lol.

"Startup Business Failure Rate By Industry":


Construction grandpa. Yeh. I suppose they would sell. Everything is for sale for the right price.


Re: "Construction"

Good for you lil' fella. Hope you make a lot of money.

Had a GREAT guy remodel my house prior to sellin' in Chicago. I probably wouldn't hire a smart*ss like you.


Yeh. Lil fella behind a screen. Probably change your tune face to face. Me and my guys are making a living. Not getting rich but we work hard and take pride in what we do. I wouldn't work for an azzhole like u.


Re: "I wouldn't work (snip)"

Good to read. Have a nice day Cupcake.


why the I missing something...I thought Contango was decently conversing with you??


In business class in college they stated that restaurants have a 73% failure rate in the first 5 years. And that is with all the right-offs the IRS lets you do 3 of those 5.

swiss family

thank you for finally giving out some ideas on possible ways to change directions on the economic structure and desertion that is taking for your suggestion of a doughnut shop, ummm every grocery store in this town has a doughnut shop inside their bakery dept.also our retail shops , Wal Mart, even Big Lots sells baked goods too,also many people are driving to Sam's club for bulk shopping, and they have a wonderful baked good s department in there as well, we also have a coffee house with wi fi service where lots of people gather to socialize, and get on their computers and enjoy coffee and pastries , I hardly think that a town this size could support a business that exclusively sells donuts, as for your possibly outdated idea of an eBay shop, where possibly computer confused people can take their wares to be sold by someone else who will then take a cut of their profits, for merely advertising someone else s wares... maybe that would have worked in the year 2002 or so, but by now, moat people are more computer savvy, and if they have an interest in making money or starting their own computer business to make extra money, they probably have learned how to do this themselves, and thus cut out the percentage of profits that is unnecessary.... thanks though , for finally giving some actual ideas instead of the usual smoke and mirrors, and finding fault in everyone else s ideas... please keep them coming, and I will try to be as honest and objective with your ideas, as you are of mine....


Re: "outdated idea of an eBay shop"

IMO, Norwalk is too small a market to be profitable.

Perhaps: Sandusky, Lorain, et. al.

Tell it to iSoldit:

Wonder how the U-Haul business is doing?


There is / was an ebay business in Olena.


Norwalk as a community is "circling the drain." The economic development effort is totally ineffective but you can't blame one person like Ellen Heinz. Where is our county leadership on these issues? Why are there two separate economic development directors for our area? These two positions should be combined for a more effective effort. Have you noticed that our county commissioners have been totally silent on these closings? They don't have a clue. None of our leaders has any solid business background. Duncan is a part-time preacher, Bauer is a retired educator, Dunlap is a former cop, and Hintz is a former chimney sweep. Hintz as president of the board of commissioners? This fall, the voters have a chance to put a more effective LEADER in office and they should put Hintz out back on the street.


I am very sad to hear Fancy That is closing. I really enjoyed their window decorations, their lovely floral arrangements and especially their Christmas displays and wares.

Fibber Mcgee

No surprise that council supports NEDC, after all they spent 50,000 dollars a year since 2002. For the nice salary that she receives maybe Ms.Heintz should be more public on how she earns the money she gets from the city.


Watch the mom and pop diners all over the area start to close. Restaurants are so risky, You need a lot of money backing you just for start up costs.

"Upscale anything" flies better in a bigger city than a small town.

A Marine Mom

You are so right about that's breath and the same old same old flowers to go along w/ it are all that is needed in Norwalk. I purchased flower arrangements and centerpieces from Fancy That several times-- such beautiful work at affordable prices. I will miss them and thank them for giving Norwalk a shot. What a refreshing and welcome change they were to the floral business.