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G.L. Perry closing

G.L. Perry closing

LOWELL - Linda Smith and her mother-in-law, Velma Smith, browsed through

several glass shelves of knickknacks and vases Friday afternoon.

The Lowell residents were taking advantage of the G.L. Perry store's closing

sale. The store, which opened in May 1994, will close Jan. 31.

"We liked this store," Linda Smith said. "We need something like this

here. There's nowhere to hang out in Lowell. If you need a card, you can just

run in, and they have pretty gifts here."

"We don't have anything like a dime store," said Velma Smith, who has lived

in Lowell more than 50 years.

"They're still needed, because you don't want to go all the way to Kmart

sometimes," Linda Smith said.

But G.L. Perry's closing doesn't mean residents will have to do heavy-duty

traveling for daily necessities.

Richard Stewart, president of G.L. Perry stores out of Elkhart, said the

Lowell store and seven other Perry stores have been bought by Duckwall-Alco

Stores, a discount department store based in Abilene, Kan.

Duckwall-Alco, which has been in business since 1901, operates 152 other

discount stores in the central United States.

Just as variety store giant F.W. Woolworth decided to close the last of its

stores earlier this year, the move is yet another sign of the end of the

variety store era, Stewart said.

"I believe we are the last variety store in the state of Indiana," said

Stewart, who has been with Perry for 44 years.

"Variety stores have been having a lot of problems for a long, long time,"

he said. "They were great in their day, but how can a 20,000-square-foot store

keep up with a 200,000-square-foot superstore?"

The Lowell Perry store opened in May 1994, replacing a Harvey Mart dime

store.

Assistant managers Mary Ann Skaggs and Charlotte Snell and manager Pam

Sampson have been with Perry since then.

"We're very disappointed it's closing, but at least there will be another

store here," Sampson said.

Alco is scheduled to open in May, after renovations to the building. About

25 openings will be filled primarily from the Lowell area, according to Jim

Schoenbeck, vice president of store operations.

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