It’s the end for Baby Cotton Bottoms.
The mom-and-pop Colorado Springs retailer, which started selling cloth diapers 15 years ago from its owner’s garage and grew into a brick-and-mortar storefront with an expansive offering of baby and parental items, is closing its doors and discontinuing its online business because it can no longer compete with online rivals.
The business will remain open through July 31 but might close sooner depending on how long its inventory lasts, said owner Dani Tobey.
She started Baby Cotton Bottoms out of her family’s Old Colorado City garage in July 2004. Seven years later, the business moved to a location on West Colorado Avenue. In 2015, Baby Cotton Bottoms relocated to 330 S. Nevada Ave. in downtown.
Along the way, cloth diapers became a smaller part of Baby Cotton Bottoms. It now sells high-end car seats, baby carriers, toys, books, clothing and maternity and breastfeeding supplies, among other products.
“Everything you need for kids,” Tobey said. “And motherhood.”
Although it developed a following and loyal customer base, Baby Cotton Bottoms — like many retailers — has fallen victim to online competition, Tobey said.
“We just can’t compete in the current environment with online shopping,” she said. “It’s been really hard that people want us to discount our merchandise when we already have everything kind of just barely marked up, as low as it can go. We’ve never had a lot of room to make discounts.
“We’re getting outshopped on Amazon,” Tobey added.
Customers also like the convenience of online shopping, she said.
“It’s really hard nowadays to get people to leave their homes and shop brick-and-mortar, when it’s really easy to just hit buttons on your phone and things arrive at your house,” Tobey said. “That’s been a lot of it.”
Baby Cotton Bottoms has alerted many customers of its closing. Store employees who numbered as many as a dozen at one time are down to five, Tobey said. She remains the primary owner; store manager Shanda Lloyd also is a partner in the business.
“It was a niche business, it absolutely was,” Tobey said. “There is nothing like us anywhere, certainly in the state and actually in a multistate region. You can’t buy the sorts of things that we sell in Colorado at all. I had people coming in from two states away, sometimes, to buy the right car seat from us.
“It’s going to be rough,” she added of the closing. “I’ve kind of seen it coming for a long time and I keep just stretching and stretching to keep us open this long because I am honestly terrified of what this will mean for us and how hard that’s going to be.
“Our customers, we’ve got people coming in here crying every day since I’ve announced. There’s been a lot of tears already, and we still have two months of tears left.”