By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM

I started getting worried when I noticed that Envy, a fun, independent women's apparel store with a skater flair at 2203 N. Farwell Ave., not only extended its holiday sale way past the conclusion of the holiday season, but more so, inflated it.

For the past few weeks I've been getting flyers (I'm on the e-mail list) advertising the details of what seemed like a ridiculously lengthy sale: buy one, get one free on items storewide; take 50 percent off anything you buy.

Now I understand why. The store, which Phase II skateshop owner Mark Zitzer opened in 2005, is closing. Sunday, Feb. 1 is the last day the shop will be open to customers.

This comes as sad news, as reports of several other locally owned boutiques run rampant. Fashionable neighbor Ess Elle, which formerly inhabited the space at 1919 E. Kenilworth Pl., announced its departure from the shopping scene just prior to Christmas 2008. Other shopping districts like the Third Ward and Brady Street have been hit hard as well with the recent losses of Anomaly Design Shop and HERS.

And we won't even get into Atomic Records, Schwartz Bookshops and The Social. These losses are sad and have altered the diverse landscape of Milwaukee, but more than that, they are a scary indication of what can happen to a city that doesn't support its homegrown businesses.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”