Two reputable east side stores are going out of business. A. Michele, the contemporary women's boutique at Selby and Snelling in St. Paul will close by the end of March. In downtown Stillwater, Alesci Gallery is preparing to shutter its doors by mid-May. A. Michele's story is a common one: it's not easy to compete against the prices of sale-happy chains and discounters...and the growing number of online discount designer resources. "The writing was on the wall when we had a down holiday season, even with the exceptional weather," says owner Amy Mullen. It's too bad, as well, for Selby & Snelling--the corner anchored by Patina got so much attention and praise for redevelopment a couple of years ago, but it hasn't quite achieved destination status. Allee Metro Chic also left the corner, for a higher profile spot near Selby and Dale. It's a convenient location, just off the highway and surrounded by homes, but traffic moves fast. And there's no great restaurant option, which would make this a more appealing place to meet, lunch and then shop. Still, there are plenty of reasons to stop here: including veteran vintage store Lula, Flirt lingerie, Initially Yours and Tennis on Selby. And for the next few weeks, A. Michele, where everything has been marked 50 to 90 percent off. Likewise, it's been one step forward, another back in downtown Stillwater, which has had more goings than comings lately, although there should be some positive additions this spring. Alesci Gallery is a definite loss. The gallery--known for high quality, handcrafted furniture, pottery, art, photography and more--has long been a fixture in downtown Stillwater. The store actually doubled its size in 2010. but owner Scott Zahren has decided he wants to focus his efforts elsewhere. He still plans to be involved in community events. Alesci's last showing in Stillwater's Art on Main will be this Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10. After that, look for discounts storewide.