Wildfire’s location at 226 High St. will close on Jan. 27, a decision Dunkhoff made on Christmas Eve. The High Street shop opened in August 2019 but by 2020, she “realized we had way outgrown our space.”
With the help of the city of Hamilton, she found the North Second Street building after not being able to find a 3,000-to-5,000-square-foot location on High Street. Dankhoff decided to keep the High Street store because “it was not the time to leave” Hamilton’s main drag downtown as it was still experiencing some growing pains.
“We couldn’t do it yet,” she said. “Wildfire was just two years old, the city of Hamilton was different then. You had to be on High and Main streets to really get some wind underneath your wings.”
Fast forward to today, downtown Hamilton is different at the beginning of 2024. Coupled with her successful 2023, Dankhoff said that growth gave her the confidence to decide now was the time to combine locations.
“I’m not disappointed in how anything is going,” she said. “Having two locations is a lot. It has come with a very hefty price tag as far as the sacrifice for my family. After this past year, I just feel the confidence of what we’ve built with our customers and our community, that we can do this.”
The single store now gives Dankhoff and her husband, Kyle, who was able to leave his full-time job to help out with Wildfire, the flexibility to better juggle business and family life.
The move has been lauded by the public, as many responded to the announcement on Facebook. Brad Baker, owner of Pinball Garage and All8Up said the move “is smart business,” and Jenny Brown said she’ll “continue to share, support, and be a cheerleader for any choice you make for this business.”
With one store, Dankhoff no longer has to be light on her hours, an unfortunate necessity when operating two stores. So come February, she said people will see expanded hours. Wildfire will still be closed on Mondays for photoshoots and changing up the store’s layout as new items are displayed, but it will soon be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
For those looking for Wildfire deals with the closing of the location, that starts on Jan. 16 until the location closes. Wildfire’s High Street gift shop will feature discounted merchandise, and the sale will be similar to when Dankhoff holds her street sales.