CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Auntie Penny, a prominent fixture in downtown Chappaqua, is set to close for good at the end of this month.
Eve Spence, who has co-owned the kids' toy and gifts store with Linda DeMase for five years, attributed the impending closure to several factors
One of the setbacks from last year was bad weather in January and February, which Spence said “weather-wise, were disastrous for us.”
Spence also cited increased competition from other local merchants, as their inventories have become more alike than in the past. She also cited a disruptive Con Edision project that took place last August and September on the road where the store is situated.
Auntie Penny's lease is also expiring, Spence explained, which was a contributing reason for the decision to close.
The store's announcement, which was posted on its Facebook page, was met with an outpouring of sadness from people who replied. The responses can be read here.
The store is at 11 King St. It is part of downtown's lower King Street retail corridor.
Going forward, Spence noted that there will be times when the street is shut down, even if it is for what she called "good reasons," referring to the Town of New Castle's planned overhaul of lower King. That project is slated to include infrastructure and streetscape overhauls.
One tradition that Spence will miss is the Friday journeys of kids from nearby Robert E. Bell Middle School, who would leave their back packs by the outside entrance.
“I have always loved Fridays for that reason," she said. "I really enjoy it.”
Students from Seven Bridges Middle School have also come to the store, according to Spence, who explained that their moms would bring them to socialize. Spence explained that they did not bring their back packs because they already dropped them off.
Spence also recounted the history of the store, based on her memory and previous local media coverage displayed on a wall. This included its founding in the late 1970s, three prior ownerships and its original name of "Penny Auntie." She explained that the store was closed before she and DeMase reopened it, while the previous ownership transfers were through sales. Spence and DeMase, who live in Yorktown, also worked at the store under prior ownership.
So far, Spence is unaware of anyone who could take over the store, but she likes the idea of it.
“God, I hope so," she said. “Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
For the remainder of the month, Auntie Penny will be having sales, with items marked at 30 percent off. Items purchased for a Make-A-Wish Foundation program will be marked at 50 percent off, according to Spence.
To learn more about the store's history and to see photos of the middle school tradition, click here for a Patch story that this reporter wrote in 2010, which focused on the start of Spence and DeMase's ownership.
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