After 35 years of business PK’s Boutique is closing its doors.
Shop owners and sisters, Diana Allen and Celeste Flanagin, made the decision to close the longtime Conway establishment when they both became pregnant.
The sisters have owned PK’s since 2006, when it was still located on Donaghey Avenue. In 2008, they returned the store to its original downtown location in the Halter building, at the corner of Oak and Front Street.
The boutique was founded by Peggy Crowell, who named the boutique after her and her daughter Kristen’s initials. Next, Cheryl Leach owned the business for 26 years before she sold it to Allen and Flanagin.
“Our lease was up and we both got pregnant, so we either had to buy heavy for fall, or say it may be time, and it was just kind of a timing thing,” Flanagin said. “The time was right for us to move on. We’ve shed a lot of tears.”
Allen is pregnant with her first child and Flanagin is expecting her fifth.
“This was a complete shock,” she said. “If I hadn’t been pregnant we probably could have run the store, but this is probably going to kind of rock my world.”
And with Allen living in Little Rock, the commute would have made it difficult for her to balance caring for a new born baby and running a store, her sister said.
The sisters closed the store Thursday to reprice the merchandise and prepare for the Going Out of Business Sale Friday and Saturday. Flanagin said she can’t remember sitting down from the time the store opened at 10 a.m. until it closed sometime after six that evening.
Over the weekend, most of PK’s inventory was gone.
Sara Hickman has been shopping at PK’s since her mother would bring her there as a little girl. She was out of town over the weekend, but came in as soon as she could Monday morning.
“I’ve been coming here since I was little,” she said. “It’s a totally different town from what it used to be.”
Hickman bought a green and cream chiffon blouse, on sale for $37. Before leaving the store, she hugged Flanagin and said she hoped she’d get the chance to see her around town.
Something Flanagin said she’s going to miss the most is the everyday interaction with her customers.
“I’m really going to miss the people,” she said.
And to her longtime customers she says thank you for shopping locally and supporting PK’s through the years.
Flanagin said she plans to continue to support other local businesses because she knows how hard it is to run one.
Everything is 50 to 75 percent off. There is still a rack of clothes, a few scarves, handbags and some jewelry for sale. Friday will be the store’s last business day, unless PK’s sells out of merchandise before then. They are also selling clothing racks and mannequins to interested retail outlets.
A few people have asked Flanagin for her landlord’s phone number, but she didn’t inquire about what they had planned for the space.
She said she loves the corner location and would like to see it turned into a coffee house that sells drinks and pastries.
PK’s landlord could not be reached for comment.
With stacks of homework, dinner and bedtime stories, running a store began to be too much, Flanagin said, but with it closing, she will be able to spend more time at home.
“I was very sad to lose the store because the store is kind of like your baby too, but I’m getting to the point now where I’m kind of excited about having some family time,” she said.
The money they made at the store didn’t contribute to paying the bills at home, Flanagin said, but they could always break even at the store, and they had enough to buy new inventory to keep the store fresh and provide new merchandise for customers.
These five years have taught her a lot about running a business, and she said she could one day see herself returning to retail if her daughter continues to express an interest in owning her own business one day.
“She’s nine, so who knows what will happen,” Flanagin said. “She plays store all the time at the house, probably because she’s been around this store so much.”
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)