Deep Ellum News

Quirky gift store and early Deep Ellum settler will close up shop

Quirky gift store and early Deep Ellum settler will close up shop

Busts and vintage suitcases at Life of Riley in Deep Ellum
They were one of the first settlers in the renovation of Deep Ellum. Life of Riley/Facebook

After six years, the adorable, quirky Deep Ellum gift shop Life of Riley is closing. The store was coming up on the end of its lease, and owner Billy Milner decided not to renew.

"The time has come to move onto new adventures," Milner says.

Milner opened the shop in 2013, with a mix of new and vintage goods that extended from greeting cards to candles to furniture to gifts.

Located at 2646 Main St., the shop was one of the early settlers in a property owned by then-new landlord/developer Scott Rohrman and geared toward the downtown/Deep Ellum client at the time, back when the neighborhood was still dominated by a small-scale, ground-level neighborly feel.

"Life of Riley was the first new lease for Scott Rohrman and Deep Ellum 42 when they purchased their Deep Ellum properties," Milner says. "I am very proud to have started the ball rolling and happy I could help to create what this great historical neighborhood has become."

In 2017, they relocated to the Carson Warehouse building, one of the few buildings in Deep Ellum that's on the historical register.

But things in the neighborhood have shifted, with high-rise buildings such as the Epic on one end and the Case on the other, and the arrival of touristy ice cream shops and other mainstream businesses.

"The neighborhood is in transition, it's not the same as when we moved in, and has not evolved into what I was expecting it to be," Milner says. "I have other businesses, including a really thriving business doing installations during the Christmas holidays, and just decided it was time to let one go."

While they won't have their own storefront, they'll move their vintage goods and bestsellers into a new store near the Design District that's an offshoot of Benny Jack's, the antique shop on Haskell Avenue.

They're also launching a candle line, called Riley's Small Batch Candles, since candles were among their biggest sellers.

As for Deep Ellum, everything in the store must go, with markdowns of 30 to 50 percent off, until it's gone.