Kansas department store to close
By BECCY TANNER
Aug. 18, 2017
ANTHONY, Kan. (AP) — The Harper County department store that defied Main Street trends and continued to be a stronghold in customer loyalty, good taste and savvy fashions for more than a century is closing its doors for the last time.
Jetts Department Store in Anthony will no longer exist after Sept. 30, The Wichita Eagle reported .
"I was very shocked but I have said forever that when God is ready for me to retire, he would send me a message," owner Sherrie Eaton, 67, said in a phone interview last week. "He sent me a young man with roots in this community who walked through the door and said 'I want to buy your building.'"
The Anthony building that anchors the town's Main Street will soon be the Squash Blossom Boutique. The new store will be operated by Maria Gates, Katie Carothers and Caitlyn Henderson.
"This is the next generation coming along to see the continued success of Main Street Anthony," Eaton wrote in an e-mail to her customers announcing her decision to close.
She told The Eagle: "When God gives you that big of a message, he means for you to be gone."
In 1912, the W.E. Jett Mercantile Co. in Anthony opened on Main Street. At the time, it was part of a chain of department stores owned by P.H. Parmenter, Frank Parmenter, W.E. Jett, L.D. Farmer, Joe Farmer and Arthur Farmer. The Farmer brothers operated the stores, but the stores were named after Jett and Wood Wholesale Grocery in Wichita.
The first stores opened in 1906 and were centered in the Greensburg and Pratt area. At one time, there was a string of Jetts stores in other Kansas and Oklahoma communities, including Herington, Wellington, Kingman, Blackwell, Ponco City and Alva.
The Jetts store in Anthony was the last one still open.
Large department stores once decorated Main Streets across America, but in the 1960s and 1970s gave way as malls were built; then, still more fell by the wayside in more recent years as internet shopping has gained popularity.
Eaton said the store will continue to honor gift certificates and store credits for the next six weeks. The store is having a clearance sale along with new fall arrivals.
"The Squash Blossom Boutique will have a new spin on fashion," Eaton told her customers in the e-mail. "At this time, they only plan to carry a few of our lines — Born shoes, Silver jeans/capris, UnderArmour Kids and Oofos. They also will continue with tux rental."
Gwen Warner, director of Anthony Chamber of Commerce, said the community will feel the loss of the department store but is grateful a fashion shop will still remain in the small town.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com