Heartland business closing after 109 years

Ben Franklin is set to close after 109 years. (Source: Mike Mohundro KFVS)
Ben Franklin is set to close after 109 years. (Source: Mike Mohundro KFVS)

DEXTER, MO (KFVS) - A store in Dexter, Mo has reached a feat that other businesses can only dream of. Ben Franklin has been in business for over 100 years. 109 years to be exact.

Unfortunately, it will not turn 110 as the business has decided to close their doors later this year.

"There comes a time when all things end," Ben Franklin Store Manager Donna West said.

The three-generation store has endured much throughout its time here in Dexter.

"Joe Weber, the present owner, his grandfather started it," West added. "It has been over the years, a great draw for downtown. It's the oldest retail business for Dexter."

West has worked here for over 50 years and while she said there have been some tough days in the past, she would trade her time here for anything.

"I've worked here since I first got out of high school. I've been here for 56 years," West said proudly. "I've never wanted to be anywhere else."

West stated there were several factors in deciding to close their doors for good.

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"Mr. Weber and I are both older and there's no one to take it over," West explained. "We just decided now was the time."

Other reasons West said were the tough economic times and also competition from online businesses.

She stated the store, along with all contents inside, are for sale currently.

"It's all for sale. Everything in here is for sale and the building," West said. "If anybody is out there interested, just come by and see us."

Employees on Tuesday are labeling the rest of the items inside at a discounted price as part of their store closing sale.

"We start out at certain percentages off and we'll continue to d rop those as time goes by," West said.

She stated that many people in the community were shocked after they announced the closing.

"There's many people and many calls since we announced it," West said. "Many people come in and some of them really had tears in their eyes. It's sort of bittersweet."

Overall, West and community members said they will miss it.

"Just the fact of closing and I know it will leave a void downtown," West said. "I've enjoyed being downtown. Our downtown in Dexter has managed to survive a little better than many downtowns have."

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