GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Greenfield institution closed its doors for the last time on Friday.
Wilson’s Department Store’s last retail day was January 31. The once packed store was mostly empty.
“It’s a little weird, cause I’m so used to coming in and seeing all the shelves full and people coming in and out shopping. And I walk in today and it’s a little bit of a ghost town,” Greenfield resident, Helaina Balcanoff told 22News.
Balconoff remembers going to Wilson’s as a child with her family, much like many from the area.
“I’m gonna miss them. But I know that they’re wanting to end on a high note,” she said.
Wilson’s Department Store has been around for 137 years. With multiple expansions over the century, it’s been a place where generations of people from all over the area could come to find almost anything.
In the last weeks throughout the store, you could find numerous historical items that they’re still trying to figure out what to do with. Items such as blown up advertisements dating all the way back to the 1940s.
Sales last increased in the final month of the store. Starting at 20 percent off and in the last week, many items at an 85 percent discount. Wilson’s told 22News they loved when local residents saw the photos from earlier decades and saw their family members from generations earlier.
“It’s been an emotional time for both the customers and ourselves. We were very lucky to have good customers and good employees over the years,” Wilson’s Owner, Kevin O’Neil told 22News.
O’Neil worked for the store for 39 years, his wife’s family ran it for 90. He says he’s excited for his next chapter which includes spending time with his grandchildren and relaxing in Cape Cod.
O’Neil told us he’s working with the Greenfield Co-op for them to potentially take ownership of the space so that it’s still used to benefit Greenfield residents.