Redmond Work and Western Wear will close near the end of the month, after 43 years of business.
The store, which sells an assortment of cowboy boots, hat, vests and leather jackets, started with multiple stores in Western Washington and moved to Redmond about 20 years ago.
Owners Joe and Sally Hong announced in February that the store would be closing after they decided to retire.
The Hongs said they are looking forward to resting and vacationing after having run the store so long. Joe also has some patents that he is hoping to spend more time developing.
“A long time ago, the town [Redmond] was a really small town,” Sally said. “There was horseback riding, lots of farm and cowboys here…Redmond has had big, big changes.”
The Hongs said that online shopping, while a staple of their last decade of business, also cut into their profits. Sally said 20 percent of customers would buy boots online, then return them, and their shop would have to foot the shipping bill. She also said some customers would try on shoes in the store before buying them from an online retailer.
Joe said he missed the days when Redmond was a more rural area and their shop was one of the few stores in Redmond. He also highlighted old newspaper clippings about the store, showing off features and awards they had won over the years.
Marcus Chhong started working at the shop five years ago. His brother Micah had also worked at the store. Chhong said he handles online sales for the store. Chhong and both Hongs talked about how they will miss the customers most.
“My customers go back three generations, first the grandfather, then the father and now a son,” Sally said. “Lots of people come in and say, ‘Oh my father bought me boots three years ago…my father [who shopped here] passed away’…They get sad they can’t find this merchandise anywhere anymore.”
The store faced a tougher time because of online selling, having to match lower prices, and was sometimes unable to match the sales brought in by customers.
As of March 4, store walls are still lined with cowboy boots, but those boots now have stickers and tags marking them 50 percent off, or even more. The store floor is more sparse, with Carhartt jackets and other leather jacket and vests are 75 percent off.
“I enjoy gardening, and will visit our sons in New York and San Diego,” Sally said of post-retirement plans. “But I will miss the customers.”