After more than three decades in downtown Keene, Creative Encounters is set to close around the end of the year.
Karen Lyle, who owns the business at 18 Main St., said she plans to retire.
“It’s been 36 years,” the Keene resident said. “It’s not about business not being good, because business is good. ...The customers, the community are wonderful. It’s about just knowing when it’s time.”
With its storefront sign proclaiming it offers “Extraordinary Framing & Other Cool Stuff,” Creative Encounters encompasses three components, Lyle explained: custom framing; commercial framing; and retail, selling art supplies, handcrafted gifts, young children’s toys and more.
And except for six months in a Court Street space she quickly outgrew, Creative Encounters has always been at 18 Main St.
“We’ve watched Main Street change over the years,” she said. “We’ve had our window on the world here.”
Lyle was a 2016 winner of a Ewing Arts Award, presented by The Sentinel and Arts Alive!, for her decades of work on the Keene Art Walk, where downtown shop owners display local artists' work in their windowfronts.
A Facebook post this week announcing the news states that, starting this past Tuesday, wall art, ready-made frames, art supplies and gifts are 20 percent off, and the store will close at the end of the year. The semi-official closing date is Dec. 19, Lyle said, although she noted that they’ll continue for a bit after to ensure customers are taken care of.
Asked about her plans for retirement, she said she has intentionally made none — affording herself a chance to take a breath before seeing what’s next.
“Thank you for the many years of support and patronage. I am so grateful!” Lyle told customers in her Facebook post. “Let’s celebrate!”