SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When Sandy McIlravy opened Hannah’s Hallmark 15 years ago her oldest daughter, the store’s namesake, was just 10 years old.
“We took it over on June 1st of 2005,” McIlravy said. “It had been in this building for 50 years already, so we’re into it for 65 years at this point.”
Now grown, Hannah and her mom are the only people left to close out the store.
“We had to let our employees go, that was probably almost as hard as telling my customers that we were doing this,” McIlravy said.
McIlravy says the decision to close came after an incredibly difficult year in business.
“I had somebody describe it as a perfect storm, we survived the tornado, we were closed down and then we had a record year last year, we had a great holiday season, we started off the year great and it was amazing how a matter of just three weeks can turn an entire business around.
She says the pandemic played a role in her decision to close.
“In the last six months we’ve endured a lot in retail, and retail is hard anyway when you’re competing with online,” she said. “There are not a lot of people lining up to buy retail right now.”
McIlravy says she wouldn’t be surprised to see other locally owned stores follow suit.
“There’s going to be a lot of empty places. A lot of them are going to be the mom and pop shops, the hardworking husband and wife working hard to make this happen,” she said.
“I’d like to see them come back, I know this has been a hard time for them,” Lyle Grenz said.
Her long-time customers are sad to see the store close.
“It’s my favorite place to come and get gifts for my wife, I buy her precious moments and this is the place to get it,” Grenz said.
But Grenz is also wishing the family well on this new stage of life.
“We’ve had a lot of tears, a lot of sadness, people are excited for us, its another phase for us to go through. Our lease was up, we’re empty nesters, the virus played a little in it. It was just a great time for us to put everything together and make a move for us as a family,” McIlravy said.
Hannah’s Hallmark’s final day will be June 30. Mcillvary says it provides a great opportunity for someone to take over a prime spot in the otherwise full Western Mall.