After 40 years in business, Paper House, 124 N. Hale St. in downtown Wheaton will close its doors for good in May.
Paper House, a Wheaton staple that has specialized in custom party invitations and Wheaton memorabilia, is also a destination for greeting cards, gifts, accessories that has helped customers celebrate major life events and find the "perfect gift."
But after the economic downturn in 2008, the store could not compete with big box stores or online shopping, said owner Carol Daywalt.
Daywalt, who has owned Paper House for over a decade, said Wednesday she decided over two years ago she wouldn't renew the store's lease.
"The decision to close the store has been a long and difficult one," Daywalt wrote in a Feb. 15 letter to Paper House customers.
"The economic downturn in '08 hit us dramatically, and it has not come back," she said.
"The economic downturn had a major impact on the business and it has been a struggle for the past five years," she wrote. "Paper House cannot compete with big boxes or discounters. Nor can it turn back the time when people corresponded via snail mail."
Daywalt said she considered downsizing the business to only create invitations, and that she plans to continue making invitations after the store closes.
She wrote her staff of eight has been a "wonderful" second family.
"They have seen the Paper House and me through many milestones. They have made Paper House a beautiful place to come for you and me," she wrote.
Daywalt and her husband will move to the Detroit area at the end of the summer, where she will work from home to continue to create custom invitations.
"(We) had a very enjoyable time being part of their (customers') lives... and having them in my life," she said.
Paper House is a place that deals with life's celebrations and major events—births, birthdays, weddings, deaths—and lends itself to people "being able to talk," she added.
"I want to thank all my loyal customers—over the years many of you have become like friends," she wrote. "We have shared the good times and the bad times in our lives. It is true that Paper House is all about celebrating birthdays, babies, weddings, and sympathizing in death and any life loss."
Paper House will remain open on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., until May.