Long time Bardstown Department Store closes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Long time Bardstown Department Store closes

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Spalding and Sons opened in 1856, 157 years ago. Spalding and Sons opened in 1856, 157 years ago.
For five generations the Spalding family has owned the store just a block from Bardstown's historic town square. For five generations the Spalding family has owned the store just a block from Bardstown's historic town square.

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is a Bardstown department store that has been around since before the Civil War -- but Tuesday is its last day in business.

Spalding and Sons opened in 1856, 157 years ago.

For five generations the Spalding family has owned the store just a block from Bardstown's historic town square. It has always been a place to find a good suit and pair of fine shoes. But now the shelves are mostly empty as customers take advantage of the 50 percent off sale.

The store may have been around for more than 150 years, but Tuesday was Justin Garmon's first visit to the store, and he knew the significance of the day.

"I thought I could get some good deals and be part of history," said Garmon. "It is kind of like we are losing a little of Bardstown history, so it is kind of sad."

Gary Heilman and his wife made the trip from Louisville. He says when he was in the area, he would always stop by the store and make a purchase.

"It's a little bit sad to see an old-time store leave town," said Garmon. "We had to come one last time."

Owner Haydon Spalding was getting a lot of good wishes on Tuesday. His great-grandfather opened the store in 1856.

He says it is just time to move on.

"I am getting up in age, and it just felt good that we've lasted as long as we have," said Spalding.

He says business peaked in the 1960's and 1970's.

"Business began to decline in the 1980's; and in the 1990's, they held up pretty well, but the last 10 or 15 years, it's been a lot tougher," added Spalding.

He says the big-box stores and the Internet all led to customers going elsewhere to shop.

While Spalding started working at the store 54 years ago, bookkeeper Sue Reed has him beat at 55 years on the job.

"It is a sad day," said Reed. "We hate to see the store close, but we'll move on and adjust."

The owner of Peacock on Third, a women's apparel store across the street from Spalding and Sons, has purchased the building and will move her store into the old Spaldings. She will add men's clothing, so the building will still house apparel, but without the Spalding name along one of Bardstown's busiest streets.

As for Spalding, he says he might have a little time to play some golf now that he won't be working six days a week anymore.

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