Another longtime Neosho business is shutting its doors.
Mills Park Centre, Furniture and Mattress, 100 N. College St., will be closing for good in early 2013.
John Mills, store owner, said it was a difficult decision to discontinue the family business, and pointed to tough economic times as the cause for the closure.
“With all the changes in retail and, of course, tough economic conditions, we tried to find a way to hang on, but it’s just time to move forward,” Mills said.
The furniture business has served the tri-state area for nearly 56 years, though it hasn’t always been a furniture store.
Mills said his parents, Lawrence and Earleen Mills, bought Anderson Hardware, located on the northeast area of the Neosho Square, in 1957.
At the time, the store was selling hardware, electronics and appliances.
Mills said prior to a hardware store, it was believed to be a harness shop and local historians trace it back to the early 1900s.
After a few years, the Mills family changed their business focus to furniture and bedding.
In 1988, the business moved into its current location on College Street.
Mills said the Neosho community has been a great support to his family’s store.
“The thing that has made us successful is the loyalty of our customers,” he said. “There’s no place like Neosho. We wish for its success.”
Mills said four generations of his family have been involved in the business, and his two daughters and one grandson are currently employed there.
The store has a total of five full-time employees, though Mills said they have brought in additional personnel to assist with the store closure.
Mills owns the building the company is currently located in, as well as two warehouses, which are all available for lease or sale.
Mills said he’s not sure on an exact closure date.
The state attorney general’s office has given the company 60 days for the liquidation process, though the company does have the option of applying for an extension if need be, Mills said.
Either way, Mills said he expects the store to be gone by the spring.
Mills said operating a retail business in a small town has become increasingly difficult in the past five years, especially with economic conditions, internet, and competing areas for discretionary spending.
“I think our numbers here were best in 2004 and 2007,” Mills said. “It’s just the economy was growing and we had diversified our product mix. Probably the last five years were the worst.”
Mills said he plans to retire once the shop closes. He said his family is thankful for their years working with the Neosho community.
Page 2 of 2 - “My kids and grandkids and I have grown up in retail and it certainly will be different not to unlock the door each business day,” Mills said in a news release. “We are so grateful to our friends and customers for supporting our family’s business through these many years.”
The store is holding a going out of business sale, which began yesterday. Mills said everything in the store will be sold before closing.
Those interested in purchasing or leasing the building, or who would like more information on the closure can contact Mills at the store at 451-2885.