POSTED: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 6:41pm
ALBANY,LA (NBC33) — The Albany landmark 'Kinchen's Department Store' is about to shut down for good. The owners are high school sweethearts who say after more than 56 years in business, it's time to say goodbye to customers they love so much.
"It makes you feel good when they come in and tell us they are going to miss the store and seeing us and everything," Rita Kinchen, co-owner of Kinchen's, said.
For more than 56 years Kinchen's was the spot to shop in Albany. Families came out to grab uniforms for school, work, and outdoor fun. Now most of the shelves sit empty.
"It's like going to school I guess you know. You just do it every day every day you had some highlights and low lights you know. It was good. It was a good business," Grant Kinchen, Kinchen's co-owner, explained.
High school sweethearts Grant and Rita Kinchen helped Grant's dad build the business into a local landmark, and eventually Grant took over.
"We had a lot of good customers that were loyal to us, and that's the one thing I'm going to miss about it," Rita Kinchen said.
After years of helping dress the community the Kinchens were ready to retire.
"We started going out of business last October. We sold most everything down but our uniforms," Grant Kinchen said.
In February they closed the store, however they decided to give it one last try. The reopened the store on July 1, and it will remain open until August 31. Then the business will close for good.
Customers can't imagine life without Kinchen's.
"Every time you come in they meet you at the door, and they tell you hello and what ever you need. They are going to try and help you find," Tracey Depriest, Kinchen's customer, said. "Can't imagine.You are not going to have that place you can run to and pick up what you need and be right there at home."
"We've got customers that have been coming here since they were little bitty. They remember coming with their parents or their grandparents," Jeannette Dardenne, Kinchen's employee, said. "They hate to see us close. We are an icon to them. "
As for the Kinchens, they are ready to relax.
"It's kind of bitter sweet. I enjoyed the time that we were closed, so I don't think I'll have much problems with it," Grant Kinchen said.
The Kinchens said once the shop is closed they want to go on a really good vacation, and travel as much as they can.