FARMINGTON — Longtime customers expressed their shock and sadness Tuesday after hearing of the closing of Mickey’s Hallmark on Main Street.

Sept. 30 will be the final day for the 57-year-old downtown business where customers are family and regulars drop in daily for not only newspapers and cards but also to chat with store employees.

“We know just about every customer by name. We have our regulars  . . they are our friends more than anything,” said Miki Pepper, who has made customers feel welcome and special for the past 14 years at Mickey’s. Sometimes they even get a hug, she said.

“Declining business is the reason,” said store manager Margaret Silkman, who has been at the helm for the past seven years. “The gift industry is dying. People are not buying gifts and with the economic situation this year, they’ve had to eliminate it from their budgets,” she said.

“There are so many overhead costs. Craig (store owner Craig Jordan) has kept us going,” she added. “It was hard for him to make the decision.”

The store’s five employees were told a couple weeks ago but wanted to finish the summer before clearance sale signs were put up Tuesday morning.

The store grew busier as word spread with storewide merchandise reduced by 40 or 50 percent and cards offered at buy one, get one free, she said of the effort to clear the shelves of inventory before closing.

Hallmark has been pushing their e-cards and with other stores including Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart offering the same merchandise, people are buying cards during one trip, she said.

Additional items such as Gund plush animals, Village candles and Maine Souvenirs haven’t brought the numbers in, she said. The last big item was Beanie Babies.

“People came in for those . . . there was a real flow of customers but nothing has caught on like that since and that was before I started here,” Silkman said.

Other downtown businesses were sad but not shocked when she told them of the closing. They understand, she said.

“It’s a sad moment for the community,” said customer Don DeMarsh who has shopped at the store since the late 1960s. “The feeling of acceptance here you don’t get out of the people at Wal-Mart.”

In the days when columnist and sports coach Edward “Mickey” Maguire began and ran Mickey’s Variety, the ambiance wasn’t the same. There were more men coming in to talk sports and politics like they did at Dick’s Barbershop, he said.

Mickey’s joins other longtime downtown business owners deciding to close like Marty Pike’s clothing store and the Witt Brothers drugstore, Pepper said.

“I’ll miss the Early Bird sale. Mickey’s and Reny’s are the place to go,” she said of the early morning November sale. People line up at Mickey’s for specials on Narrow Gauge movie tickets. The store has also sold tickets for many school and nonprofit group events.

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Mickey’s Hallmark customer Don DeMarsh stops in the downtown Farmington store regularly where store manager Margaret Silkman and clerk, Miki Pepper, enjoy greeting and chatting with customers. It’s a Farmington landmark and institution, he said of the store that will end a 57-year history when it closes Sept. 30.

Mickey’s Hallmark customer Don DeMarsh stops in the downtown Farmington
store regularly where store manager Margaret Silkman and clerk, Miki
Pepper, enjoy greeting and chatting with customers. It’s a Farmington
landmark and institution, he said of the store that will end a 57-year
history when it closes Sept. 30.


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