The New Yorker, oldest downtown business, closing its doors after 76 years


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Shannon Millard/Staff Photographer New Yorker Children’s Clothing Store Owner Jack Karr stands at the front counter of his shop Monday afternoon at New Yorker Children’s Clothing Store, 117 S. Main St. After 76 years in business, the oldest business in downtown Mount Pleasant will close its doors within the next few months.

The New Yorker children’s clothing store, the oldest business in downtown Mount Pleasant, will close its doors within the next few months after 76 years in business.

The shop, 117 S. Main St., opened in 1937 under current owner Jack Karr’s mother and father. What began as a woman’s clothing store, but it transitioned to carrying children’s clothes and other specialty items in 1974.

“My mom and dad opened the store in 1937, and it’s been the same family all those years,” Karr said.

Karr said when the store opened, it offered women’s clothing on the first and second floors and children’s clothing in the basement. His parents ran the store from 1937-1993, and Karr, who owns the store with wife Judy, has been integral to the store's operations since 1970.

“It’s just time,” Karr said about the store closing.

Karr said The New Yorker is very different from major retail chains and is known for carrying classic, elegant merchandise.

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Shannon Millard/Staff Photographer Jack Karr, owner of The New Yorker pulls an old Duck toy from his photo display on Monday afternoon. Karr has found many things from when his parents first opened the store 76 years ago, which makes his going out of business sale even more nostalgic.

“It’s just mom-and-pop retail," he said. "It’s just old-time retail. We talk to everybody and try to help them out. We’ve been here a long time."

Michelle Sponseller, director of downtown development for Mount Pleasant, said the closing of the store is a sad occasion.

“The closing of the New Yorker, although understandable, is a sad one as both the store and the Karr family have been a part of downtown for so many years,” she said. “The property is in the process of being purchased by Motorless Motion so they can expand their operations."

Motorless Motion, 121 S. Main St., is a bicycle shop that neighbors The New Yorker.

Karr and his wife Trudy have lived in Mount Pleasant for their entire lives. They both graduated from Central Michigan University in 1970 and even attended kindergarten together at Pullen Elementary School, 251 S. Brown St.

“We’re definitely townies,” Karr said.

He said the community has always been supportive of him and his family.

“You touch a lot of families in 76 years,” Karr said. “We really appreciate the support of the community and the Central Michigan area.”

None of Karr's three children are planning on following in his footsteps. All have careers outside of the retail business.

Going out of business signs have been up outside The New Yorker since April 15. It is unknown when the store will close down for good.


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