Order from Horder closing shop
When Staples opened a downtown store in 2004, Order from Horder owners Carole and Fred Wells vowed to fight the office supply giant. Four years later, the Wells are pulling the plug on their Downtown Mall store after 15 years in business.
"We're going south," says Carole Wells. "We're ready for a change."
In the end, it may not have been Staples that led them to sell out. "That had nothing to do with it," says Wells. "I've been dealing with them for years."
Instead, she cites larger factors: "Retail's not easy now. The economy sucks." And competition from Internet stores didn't help.
"We've been doing this 15 years," adds Fred Wells. "We're tired."
Miller's Office Products out of Springfield took over Horder's commercial accounts April 7. "We've been there a number of years already," says Don Wood, Miller's vice president of sales. "We've had two sales reps there at least 12 or 13 years." The company offers next day delivery, as well as coffee and office furniture.
The Wells have been trying to sell the business since November, and had hoped to sell it in one piece, but no takers have yet lined up for the retail store.
Potential buyers, says Carole Wells, were disappointed with the Downtown Mall, "the empty buildings, the homeless." Order from Horder sits across the mall from the former A&N building, which has been empty for over two years. "People from other places said they'd never buy here– it looks awful," says Wells.
Horder's retail store will be out of the building by the end of May, and Wells isn't sure whether new tenants are lined up for the building at 425 East Main Street. It's owned by the Masons, and while an ad for the property offers 3,160 square feet of prime retail space available for summer occupancy, a call to the Masonic Temple was not immediately returned.
Order from Horder has a "thriving" stationery business, says Wells. "It's going to be a niche gone from here."
Closing the store she and her husband have run "saddens me," she says, "because I love my customers, love my store, and love the Downtown Mall."
Still, not all prospective buyers were as enchanted with the state of the Mall. "I believe in the downtown," says Wells, "but a lot don't."