BALTIMORE — It's the end of an era for aMuse Toys in Fells Point.
After 20 years in business, owner Claudia Towles announced on Facebook that she is closing the toy store to pursue a seat on the Baltimore City Council.
"The decision to close was an impossible one but the right one for me, my family, the business, and our beloved community," Towles said in the post.
Towles, who owns the store with her husband Tom, said she plans to run for the First District seat on the city council, which is currently held by Councilman Zeke Cohen.
"My decision to seek office in the 1st District comes with an understanding of the time commitment and important work that needs to be done," Towles said.
Towles cited several reasons in her decision to close the store, including labor shortage, a broken supply chain and what she called "pervasive apathy" by city leaders toward addressing the concerns of small business owners in Fells Point.
Earlier this summer, a number of store owners brought up several issues facing their neighborhood, including an increase in violent crimes, unruly, late-night parties, litter, parking violations, etc. The complaints stemmed from a triple shooting that happened back in June.
Towles was one of nearly 40 business owners that wrote a letter to Mayor Brandon Scott, threatening to withhold taxes and fees in an escrow account until they started to see changes happen.
"As this chapter ends, I look forward to the opportunity of serving our community in a larger and more impactful manner than I could accomplish with aMuse," she said in the Facebook post.
The city council seats are up for grabs in 2024. aMuse Toys will be open until September 30.