Weeks after celebrating her 18th year on 1038 Valencia Street, Dema Grim, owner and designer at the clothing store DEMA, is having the first of several closing sales. She’ll be moving out in February.

“It’s not sad, it’s a little bittersweet,” Grim said. “I turned 50 and decided it’s not for me anymore.”

The move comes not as the result of a rent increase but because business declined and Grim wants to focus on designing and creating clothing rather than the ins and outs of retail and merchandising.

“The new people who move here are boring and don’t know how to wear colors,” Grim said. Her previous customers have mostly moved out of the area.

Business has been slow for a while, Grim said, but has really dropped off since August and it has fallen by about half. Apart from a disappearing clientele, Grim suspects it might have something to do with declining foot traffic on the Valencia corridor.

“When I first opened, this was the block to be on,” she said. Now, “there are a lot of dead buildings.”

Closing the store, Grim said, was a good decision – she has a studio picked out at the Workshop Residence in the Dogpatch, where she will custom-design clothing for a few loyal customers, perhaps expand her work in creating wedding gowns, and perhaps supply her garments to remaining local retailers.

The store will close at the end of January, and Grim plans a rummage sale for February just before her move.

Mission Local visited the store this summer to explore some looks as part of our Makeover series:

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  1. I”m a Dema sometimes shopper. . . . I love buying stuff from small stores and was super psyched to buy from the lady who designed and made the clothes. Admittedly I have dropped by a few times in the past couple years, but haven’t bought anything. Why? I think my style has changed while Dema has stayed pretty constant. I still wear colors! 18 years is a great run – and small changes can be great. Good luck in Dogpatch!

  2. a lot of dead buildings? her neighbors Lost Weekend Video and Ritual Roasters just both completed major build-outs in the last year. there is a huge apartment building being built on the other side of Hill St. This block has so much life to it – The Marsh, Valencia Cyclery, sushi, South Asian cuisine, and more. there are definitely dead blocks in the area, but the 1000 block of Valencia is not one of them.

    1. Seth,Lost Weekend’s days are numbered and Aldea Ninos is empty. Aslam Rasoi is closed during the day and Janet Moyer Landscaping brings no foot traffic to the block. Nor does the auto body shop and the weird used appliance place. It’s just not as busy during the day as it used to be. Believe me!