A long-standing downtown retailer will soon close its doors and is offering some deals as part of its close-out sale.
Burke Robertson announced Tuesday that Main Oak Emporium, a retailer which has been operating on Main Street for nearly two decades, will be closing.
“Somebody else can have this fun,” said Robertson in an interview, noting it really has been fun and successful. However, his wife and co-owner is ready to retire from running the day-to-day operations of the business.
“Main Oak Emporium has been downtown Mount Airy’s leading retail store for almost 20 years,” wrote Robertson in a press release. “However, all good things must come to an end.”
Robertson went on to note he is considering selling the business to a qualified buyer.
“It’s hard to sell an ongoing business,” said Robertson. “It’s tough to find the right person to buy and to advertise it.”
Robertson, who owns the building which houses the retail store, said he would also be open to renting the space to a business or person or selling the building eventually.
He said it could be converted for use as another sort of business, possibly housing offices or even residential units. However, purchasing the retail business as a whole could be the most fruitful of business ventures, as it took a lot of work and time to get the major brands the store offers in stock.
Main Oak is the only area retailer which offers some of those brands, according to Robertson.
In the meantime, however, the store has closed its doors from Monday through Wednesday in preparation for a sale to liquidate its merchandise. On Thursday at 10 a.m. Main Oak Emporium will kick off its sale, offering discounts of 25 percent to 75 percent.
According to Robertson those items include name-brand shoes such as Jack Rogers, Merrell, Rainbow, Frye, Ugg and Dansko, outdoor clothing like The North Face, Under Armour, Life is Good and Woolrich and women’s fashion pieces from companies such as Elliott Lauren, On My Gauze, Tyler Boe and Foxcroft.
Everything will be sold in the store, and additional items will be offered at discounted rates as time passes. Robertson said he did not know how long it would take to liquidate the entire stock at the store. Thus, he doesn’t know how long the sale will last.
“This is our biggest and last sale,” wrote Robertson, who made a point of thanking the numerous employees who work at the location, some of which have been employed there for more than a decade.
Robertson said the store employs about a dozen people on a part-time basis.
The Loaded Goat Restaurant and Pub, which is housed in the Main Oak building, will remain open for business, according to Robertson.
“The restaurant can operate completely independently,” explained Robertson. “The building was also designed for the restaurant and retail portions to interact though.”
Still hopeful to fill the retail space, Robertson noted the restaurant could see less foot traffic should the retail space remain vacant. However, he doesn’t think it will severely impact the operations of restaurant owner Craig Deas.
“He (Deas) has built a successful venture on his own,” remarked Robertson.
Randy Collins, president of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said he will be sorry to say goodbye to what has become “an anchor” in the downtown business community.
“From a reality standpoint, nothing is forever,” said Collins. “Businesses have a beginning and an end.”
“From everything I’ve heard and seen, they offer a huge variety of merchandise and great customer service.”
Collins said Robertson has also served on the chamber’s board of directors and has supported local charities throughout his years in business.
The chamber president said that’s a huge reason folks should consider shopping at local stores like Main Oak Emporium. Online purchases don’t support the local community and economy, and Collins hopes locals will continue to support the local business until its doors close for good.
“I’d pledge my support to them in whatever they plan to do,” remarked Collins.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.