Ridgeway’s Over the Top Boutique closing

RIDGEWAY – After 11 years of business, Over the Top Boutique in Ridgeway will be closing its doors next month.

Owner Tina Johnson, who opened the shop in May of 2009, announced the closing earlier this week. She said the store would continue to be open 10 – 3 every Saturday through June 27.

“We’ll be having a lot of sales,” Johnson said. “Everything – clothing and furnishings, except for a couple of pieces I plan to keep.”

“I’ve had my cry over closing it, but it’s time,” Johnson said, blaming the closure on the effects of the pandemic on retail.

“It’s hard to run a shop like this from a six-foot distance. We wear masks and wipe everything down constantly, but I really don’t know how long this virus is going to be around. It could be a year or more, and it’s very difficult to enjoy the shop and our customers and to help them with choosing outfits and scarves and jewelry when you can’t touch them or hug them,” she said. “And that’s the kind of shop we are. I really hate closing the store, and I especially hate it for our loyal customers,” she said.

“For 11 years Over the Top Boutique has been a vital part of the rebirth of Historic Downtown Ridgeway,” Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce President Gene Stephens said. “Shoppers were invited with a friendly smile and a unique shopping experience, Owner Tina Johnson and her amazing staff will be greatly missed and we wish them continued blessings in the future.” 

Johnson opened the shop as a hat boutique but soon began carrying high end brands of dresses coats and accessories, including Renaur, Gretchen Scott and French Dressing. Over the years, the store grew a loyal clientele and boasted online customers from as far away as Australia and England.

The Fairfield County Arts Council rented space in the building and Johnson hosted monthly wine and cheese receptions in the upstairs gallery for painters, authors and other artsy types.

“I love the shop. I love the arts, and we worked hard to make them both flourish in Ridgeway. It’s all been so much fun, and I’ve loved all the customers that have come through this door in the last 11 years. After Phyllis Gutierrez became the store manager, everything was so much easier for me, and I’ve had wonderful staff who I’m extremely grateful to for making the store a success,” Johnson said.

Johnson owns the historic building and hopes to do something with it to enhance the town.

“I would love the building to go on as some kind of art center with display and sales downstairs and maybe art classes upstairs,” she said. “We’ll see.”

For now, Johnson said she’s preparing for the closing.

“I’ll be taking my misspelled sign down,” she said with a laugh. “After the sign man hung it just before we opened, I noticed that jewelry was misspelled as jerwelry. When I pointed it out to him, he said it would cost a lot to redo the sign, but that he would give me a discount if I left it the way it was. I did,” she said with a laugh, “and all through these years when someone pointed out to me that my sign was misspelled, I gave them a discount.”