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Jewelry store in Pa. mall to close

November 07, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Facing dwindling customer traffic with the closing last year of the Ames Department Store and potential competition from a proposed Wal-Mart store, the owner of Bay Jewelers in the Wayne Heights Mall said she will close the store Dec. 30.

The decision by Betty Lewis, 41, owner of the jewelry store at 1521 E. Main St., leaves Waynesboro-area shoppers with a single jewelry store - Long Jewelers Inc. at 26 W. Main St. in downtown Waynesboro.

Lewis, Bay Jewelers' only employee, said all merchandise will go on sale beginning Nov. 21. "I'll start with 10 percent off then every Friday reduce it until I get down to 50 percent off," she said.

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She said Monday she'll take any merchandise home that's left after she closes the store and try to sell it on e-bay.

Lewis said she bought the business from Larue Mentzer. She didn't know when the store opened originally.

"Once Ames closed in the fall of 2002 there was a major decline in my business," Lewis said. "I was fighting to keep my head above water. Then there was the news that Wal-Mart was moving in. I figured I might as well just cut my losses."

She said she's not opposed to the idea of a Wal-Mart opening a store in the area. "It'll be nice to have a place to shop in town," she said.

Another indication that business was falling off last year came on Halloween, Lewis said. The merchants in the mall planned a children's Halloween parade through the stores with prizes to be given for costumes. "Only eight children showed up," she said. "We didn't have it this year."

Lewis is in the store six days a week and seven days during December for the holiday rush. "It's time to close another chapter in my life and move on," she said.

The Wayne Heights Mall is anchored by a Martin's Food Market at the west end and the now empty Ames on the east end. In between are nine storefronts, four of which are empty.

Among the open stores are Holiday Hair, a beauty salon; Bay Jewelers; Taste of China, a Chinese restaurant; Dru's Books 'n Things and Eckerd Drugs, which has a JC Penney Catalog Center in the rear.

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