V’tae to close after 17 years
The calming, herbal scent drifting through the open door of the V’tae factory on Wednesday contrasted sharply with the frantic activity inside.
Workers sat or stood at the hoppers, busily filling the last orders of lotions, body oils and scented mists.
After 17 years of operation, president and founder Belinda Rush-Carville is shutting down the V’tae operation in Nevada City, which supplies products to 3,000 retailers across the country as well as to individual buyers who purchase products from its Web site or through its 800 number.
The shop on Commercial Street in downtown Nevada City will close on Oct. 31. The factory at 569 Searls Avenue will roll out its last potion on Nov. 11.
Rush-Carville has been negotiating with a buyer in Illinois, according to V’tae Vice President Alanna Haley, but no contracts have been signed yet. If the deal goes through, the new owner will buy all of the V’tae formulas, equipment and labels, keep the company’s name, take over V’tae’s contracts with retailers across the country and assume ownership of the vtae.com Web site and 800 phone number.
“The plan is to keep it all the same,” said Haley, adding that her reduced staff of four had stopped taking phone orders today to concentrate on getting out the last 200 outstanding orders. Wednesday the company stopped taking orders on its Web site.
One wall of the 7,000-square-foot factory was stacked with hundreds of boxes that made up a 10,000-unit order for the prospective new owner, who planned to sell the stock to retailers and individuals until the new factory in Illinois is up and running.
When word about the closing got out to regular customers, factory orders shot up, said Haley. Unsure whether their favorite perfumed oils, soaps and lotions would be available again, many ordered their favorite products in bulk.
Although stock is limited, fans of V’tae’s aromatherapy products can find the emoluments in Nevada City at a deep discount. Both the Nevada City shop and the factory are selling items at 50 to 80 percent off while supplies last.
While customers have been stocking up, some employees have also expressed regret that the company is closing its doors.
“I’m sad to see it go,” said Mirandy Launon, a sales assistant who has worked at the Commercial Street retail shop for three years. “We have such regular customers.”
Launon’s sentiments were echoed by customer Shirley Benedick of Grass Valley, who was making some final purchases in the factory on Wednesday.
“I remember when they started,” said Benedick. “I’ve always felt it was great to have good quality products made locally.”
The V’tae shop at 241A Commercial St. will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Oct. 31.
The factory at 569 Searls Avenue will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Nov. 10. The last day of operation will be Sat., Nov. 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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