These Beloved Century-Old Stores Are Closing for Good, Starting Sept. 14
They all have different reasons for saying goodbye to loyal customers.
When it comes to store closures, larger nationwide chains tend to steal the spotlight. Retailers like Sears, CVS, and Bed Bath & Beyond have all been forced to close stores recently for a variety reasons. But smaller mom-and-pop shops are also on the chopping block, and they're ultimately that much more vulnerable. In fact, stores that have been around for a century or longer are now being forced to close up shop, even though they've clearly stood the test of time. Read on to find out which stores are closing, starting Sept. 14.
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The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on small businesses.
We all know a local haunt that's been around since before we were born. These businesses were at the forefront of discussion at the height of the pandemic, when quarantine and stay-at-home orders forced stores to close their doors for what they thought would be a temporary period. But smaller operations were already in a more precarious spot financially, and many were forced to close for good.
Others managed to survive, but smaller retailers continue to deal with the ramifications of COVID, ongoing supply chain issues, inflation, and the day-to-day struggles of running a business. Now, some century-old shops have reached the end of the line.
A trusted pharmacy chain is closing a location.
Bartell Drugs has been a staple in Seattle, Washington, for nearly 132 years, having first opened back in 1890, according to the company's website. Founded by George H. Bartell Sr. when he was just 21 years old, the company is now a chain of 67 stores and pharmacy locations.
Sadly, a location in the Chinatown International District is closing its doors on Sept. 14, The Seattle Times reported. The drugstore chain has long been renowned for its friendly staff, work in the community, and support of other local businesses in Seattle. However, since becoming a subsidiary of Rite Aid in 2020, patrons claim services have gone downhill. In Aug. 2021, The Seattle Times reported that staffing shortages led to delays and backlogs for Bartell customers, causing frustration amid the transition.
In a statement to The Seattle Times about the upcoming closure, Rite Aid cited "business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability and store performance" as the main reasons for closing the Chinatown International District store, which just opened six years ago.
Rite Aid confirmed to The Seattle Times that it will be "transferring prescriptions to avoid disruption of services" and reassigning employees to other Bartells locations.
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A town's beloved general store will also be gone for good.
Since 1938, Folsom General Store has stood on Louisiana Highway 25, but it's another homegrown business that's saying goodbye. There isn't a set closing date for the 85-year-old establishment, but the current proprietor, Bernie Willie, told NOLA.com that he'll likely be selling both the building and business in December. Willie's family has owned the property for 60 years, and he himself has run the business for the last 43.
"Every town had a little store like this at one time," Willie told the outlet. "And we were Folsom's store back in the day."
Willie has come to know the people of Folsom through the general store, even being elected mayor in the 1980s, the outlet reported. "Growing up in a small place like Folsom, you know everyone," he told NOLA.com. "Your customers are your friends. It was necessary for someone to have this job, to have a store like this. You enjoy the community of it and the business gives back to the community in many ways."
Willie didn't provide his reasoning for closing the store, and he's unsure of what will be done with the property once its under new ownership. However, he did say that it probably won't remain a general store.
And another age-old business is barely hanging on.
Another general store is hidden in a mining ghost town in the Mojave Desert in California. Randsburg General Store is fully equipped with simple necessities, as well as an historic soda fountain, NBC-affiliate KGET reported, but it might not be in operation for very long.
The store has been standing for nearly 118 years, starting out as Jone's Pharmacy Company. The current owner, Brad Myers, confirmed that's because sodas were still sold with a dose of cocaine in your Coca-Cola or pepcid in your Pepsi.
Myers first took over the general store in 2016. It still sells everything that was made "before the Titanic sank," Myers told KGET, but it's been hanging on by a thread since the pandemic.
The previous owner agreed for the sale to be carried out after COVID, but since that agreement, the owner has raised the price from $200,000 to $450,000, as well as the rent, Myers said. Still, he's continuing his efforts to buy the store, and loyal customers have even started a GoFundMe to help save the historic spot.
"We're just a little ghost town in the middle of the Mojave Desert only open about 15 hours a week," Myers told KGET. "We can't afford to stay open."