Biz Buzz: Johnsons for Children to close

Johnsons for Children, the downtown San Luis Obispo store specializing in children’s apparel, furniture and accessories, is closing.

Owners Kathy and Jon Rick are shutting down after operating the business for 19 years, a move Kathy Rick attributes to slow sales.

“Business has been very, very down for the last year, and prior to that we went through the retrofit,’’ Rick said. “And the economy kind of helped us to make the decision.”

The Ricks, who have three part-time employees, have not set a date for closing the store, however.

“We’re not on a schedule,’’ said Rick. “It depends on how fast or slow merchandise sells out.”

The original Johnsons for Children opened in 1963 and operated out of 827 Monterey St., which had to undergo an extensive seismic retrofit. In 2007, the Ricks moved the store to its present location at 782 Higuera St. — the former home of Porch Home & Garden — more than doubling the space of the previous location. At the time, Kathy Rick told The Tribune she hoped to expand their lines of merchandise.

The couple also closed their Santa Maria shop more than a year ago and shuttered a third location in Paso Robles in 2006.

Ricks said the closure of Johnsons for Children is bittersweet. She will get to spend more time with her grandchildren, but she will miss sharing happy times with customers.

“We’ve made some good friends through the years,’’ she said.

— Julie Lynem

Bridgepoint Custom Strategies has hired Michael Phares of Grover Beach as its business development and marketing manager.

Phares has held sales, marketing, and business development positions for businesses in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties.

Bridgepoint Custom Strategies of Grover Beach provides insurance, investments and financial planning to individuals and business owners.

— Julia Hickey