York retail staple closing, moving south
As word spread on Facebook, the messages unfolded the story of York's loss and Virginia's gain.
From the sad emoticon faces and multiple red hearts to the messages of "Congratulations" and "Best wishes," long-time shoppers and friends reacted to the news that Kimman’s, a downtown York boutique, will close its doors later this month.
Owner Caroline Morris is packing up moving back to be near family in Fredericksburg, Va., and she is taking the business with her.
The name of the street where she is opening the new Kimman’s? Caroline.
She admits when she first saw the "for rent" sign on the Fredericksburg street last year she pretended hard not to notice, both for herself and her husband, Fred, who is retiring. Morris had every intention of exiting business ownership and going to work for someone else.
But when she arrived later at her sister’s home for Thanksgiving, her excitement bubbled over.
“Did you see that space is available?” she said.
"I’ll call the landlord,” her sister replied.
Kimman’s Fredericksburg location will open this spring at 820 Caroline St.
"It’s a very different landscape, a lot of competition," Morris said. But the Virginia store will be similar in size, minus the basement she had on North Beaver Street.
The York shop has been a staple of city shopping for more than 10 years. Her service and unique products made it a destination for people from in and out of the city.
That intimate connection to York and the community prompted Morris to be a bit protective of any future business looking to occupy her shop's corner spot. When she was asked for the phone number of her landlord from those looking to replace Kimman's, she would unofficially pre-screen the prospective tenant’s business intentions.
"I do care," she said. "It has to be good for Beaver Street and a really good fit for the store."
She knows what shop is replacing Kimman’s, but was not in a position to reveal it yet. She will say that her staff will stay on and believes the new business will be a good fit.
Did Morris ever entertain keeping the York store and opening the Virginia location, essentially operating two Kimman’s?
"I was crazy enough that I thought about that," she said. But the travel would be untenable, and the time constraints too much. She’s moving into a new house and physically she’ll be spending a lot time in the new shop. It wouldn’t have worked out.
The decision to leave York was not sudden. It had been a year in the making, but she needed to respect her husband’s privacy in his retirement plans first before making the shop announcement.
Kimman’s is officially closing later this month, on Feb. 24, but possibly sooner. Morris is having a 40 percent off sale, and prices will not go lower than that. She is simply hoping not to have to move too much inventory to the new space.