FARGO—The founder of a Fargo-based women's clothing chain is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life, but she'll first have to close her business of the past decade.
Ciara Stockeland announced through her MODE store's Facebook page Wednesday, Sept. 27, that she'll close the Fargo location of the women's clothing boutique, 4302 13th Ave. S., at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30.
There are several reasons for the closure, she told The Forum. MODE was always based in Fargo, getting its start in a downtown storefront in 2007 a year after she opened her first downtown store, high-end maternity boutique Mama Mia.
But Stockeland said she hasn't lived in Fargo for the last five years, instead calling Grand Forks home with her husband.
"I'm just ready to move on with the next chapter in business and see where that takes me," she said.
Stockeland said she wants to spend more time with her teenage kids. For now, she's planning to take some time off "to be a mom and breathe and appreciate life and relationships."
The Fargo-based MODE brand has also changed considerably in recent years. At its maximum after franchising in 2011, it grew to 11 stores across the country, including locations in Bismarck, Sioux Falls, Grand Forks and three in Minnesota's Twin Cities area. She set a goal in 2015 to open 75 MODE stores by 2024.
"We created a lot of jobs here, and that was exciting for me," she said.
MODE is now down to two stores, the Fargo location that Stockeland owns and operates and a separately owned licensee store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that will remain open. She said the company previously unfranchised, with many of its stores closing or rebranding.
There's another factor in Stockeland's recent decision—widespread disruptions in the retail industry as sales and shopping increasingly shift online.
"The retail climate has really changed," she said. "It's so convenient for them to shop anywhere at anytime. As people have been coming in and visiting with me, I say, 'You have to support local business. You can't forget that we're here.' "
Stockeland will keep the Fargo MODE store open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday leading up to the closure Saturday evening. Inventory is now marked down 50 percent, and she said she's also selling the store's furniture and fixtures.
While she's excited to get a break after 11 years of devoting time, effort and money to her small business, Stockeland admitted she has mixed emotions about closing.
"Happy, excited, sad, all those things mixed into one," she said.
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But she said she'll never forget the support she's experienced from local shoppers. Stockeland won't rule out potentially opening her own business again down the road, even if she hasn't made any firm decisions yet.
"When I go back to doing something, small business is where my heart is," she said.