Harpers Ferry kitchen store closing doors
Owner cites slow sales past two years
Harpers Ferry, the upscale kitchen store started 15 years ago in Yuba City, will close next month after weak Christmas sales in 2008 were followed by worse retail figures this holiday season, its owner said.
"We hoped for a miracle," Jim Czigans said. "And it just didn't happen."
"I'm sick about it," Czigans, 62, said of the store's closing. "It's just a bad time to be in business."
The last two years follow more than a dozen of doing well, he said.
Higher taxes and uncertainty over the impact of a new federal health-care program contributed to the decision to close the store at 655 Colusa Ave., Czigans added.
"I have no idea —and I don't think anybody else does — what they're talking about," he said of how health care legislation will affect small businesses.
At its peak, the Harpers Ferry in Yuba City had 13 employees, said Czigans.
Darin Gale, economic development manager for Yuba City, said he regrets the store's closing.
"We hate to lose a good business along a key retail corridor," Gale said. "He was a destination-type store that people outside our region came to."
Other businesses that have recently closed along Colusa Avenue include the Downtown Grill restaurant, and McMahan's and Kian's furniture stores, although a 99-Cent Only store is moving in to the old McMahan's location.
Concerns about the impact of higher taxes and the federal health care program are common, Gale noted.
"We continually hear that from businesses," said the economic development manager, who cited the city's buy-local campaign as among efforts to boost business here.
Czigans and his wife, Marge, also owned a Harpers Ferry in Roseville that closed last month.
He said that during the housing boom, "we would sell everything related to a brand-new kitchen."
At one time two more stores, in Chico and West Sacramento, were considered.
"I'm glad we didn't pursue that," Czigans said.
Czigans noted 32 other small businesses in the Yuba-Sutter area have recently closed, along with the loss of Mervyns in Marysville and Gottshalks in Yuba City.
"We would send people there," he said of the department store in Yuba City. "And they would send people to us."
The couple, who have been married 42 years, named the store after Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which they visited while attending Ohio University.
Marge Czigans said the couple's four daughters, as well as a grandson, worked at the Yuba City store over its 15 years.
"It's too bad," she said of Harpers Ferry closing.
Contact Appeal reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or rmc firstname.lastname@example.org.