MINERAL WELLS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the city’s downtown, in the clothing shop she’s run for 31 years, Margaret Colton was ready for Black Friday.
She was dressed festively, with reindeer earrings, ready for eager customers. Problem was, there just really weren’t that many customers.
“Mostly in the last three years it’s steadily gone down,” Colton said.
After 65 years in business, she has made the decision this will be the last Black Friday for Hill’s Style Shoppe.
She didn’t come to the decision lightly.
“After being born and raised in it, it’s a really hard decision,” she said, starting to tear up.
She did literally grow up in the store that her father and grandfather started in 1946. It became a fixture in Mineral Wells, carrying women’s and children’s fashions.
Colton bought the store from her father in 1980, unable to shake the idea of retail out of her blood.
In doing so, she became the fifth straight generation in her family to run a retail store. She has specialized in those specialty items you won’t find at the mall.
Personal service has become a store hallmark.
She helps husbands find clothing she already knows their wives will like. She assists long time customers with the newest lines, even talking them out of pieces they think look good but don’t.
Appreciation for the service, though, has waned.
“A lot of people don’t come downtown,” she said. “They’ll go to the strip centers. They’ll go to the Walmarts and the Targets, the places where it’s one stop shopping, even though we’re one stop shopping for the woman.”
She is hopeful there is still a place for small business, in a small downtown increasingly full of empty space. But for the first time in her lifetime, she’s not sure.
Colton is in the middle of her going out of business sale, but isn’t sure yet when her store will close.
She plans to try to sell the building in downtown Mineral Wells.