KIRKLAND – Nancy Grant has mixed emotions about closing the Five Star Dollar Store.
On the one hand, Grant, who has owned the store in downtown Kirkland for more than 10 years, is looking forward to retirement. She will be 75 years old in March, and she said retirement is her birthday gift to herself.
On the other hand, the 3,000-square-foot store has been much more than a place to work for her.
“My customers are not customers. They’re friends,” she said. “I’ve had so many good times and so many laughs. I really feel bad for the people because there really won’t be any place left to shop.”
The store carries an array of general necessities – toiletries, DVDs, school supplies, tools, kitchen utensils, toys and holiday items, just to name a few.
“It started as a dollar store, but there’s no way a mom-and-pop operation can keep a dollar store,” she said. “It’s a nice village. The community tries to help you. They try to support you however they can.”
Store regular Doug Shroyer said he will miss the little store when it closes.
“It’s just nice to have someplace in town,” he said as he filled water cooler jugs at a bottled water station in the back of the store. “I hate paying $4 for a loaf of bread at the gas station, but it’s not worth driving to Genoa or Belvidere just for a loaf of bread.”
The village has bought the vacant building across the street, which used to be a grocery store, in hopes of attracting a buyer who will revive the business, but Shroyer is worried that will become “just another convenience store.”
“[Five Star] is nice,” he said. “You can get what you need and it’s reasonably priced.”
The Five Star building and lot are for sale, and Grant remains hopeful someone will come along with an interest in keeping the store open.
“It’s been challenging, but it was fun,” she said. “I can’t regret it.”