After nine years in the Hallmark greeting card business at the Nugget Mall, owner Marilyn Molburg is calling it quits.
Since last Monday, everything at Holly’s Hallmark in the Nugget Mall has been discounted 20 percent in a going-out-of-business sale. This week, everything is 30 percent off, and Molburg said discounts will continue to drop.
Molburg said business started declining when Nugget Alaskan Outfitter moved from the mall to the Mendenhall Mall in 2013. It continued to worsen when Rodfather’s Broiler Restaurant and Specs in the City did the same in 2014.
“It certainly has not helped to have businesses leave that helped to bring foot traffic,” she said.
“Some stores are going to close,” said Terri Gordon, property manager for the Nugget Mall, which is owned by Loveless/Tollefson Properties of Redmond, Washington. “They’ve had some tough economy there, but we’ve got some big stores coming in and it’s going to help everybody in the long run, and if some of the older tenants have to turn over, we’re sad to see them go, but that happens and we’ll find replacements.”
Gordon said Sportsman’s Warehouse and Papa John’s Pizza are moving into the Nugget Mall complex and could open as soon as June. Both businesses have signed contracts, she said.
Sportman’s Warehouse will be located next to OfficeMax and have two entrances — one leading to the parking lot and one leading to the mall. Papa John’s will be in the Nugget Mall annex, an adjacent building, next to Chez Alaska Cooking School.
With Holly’s Hallmark closing, that’ll mean about eight empty storefronts. Gordon anticipates Sportsman’s Warehouse will bring in new tenants. She said Loveless/Tollefson Properties had an appraisal done last year and is in the process of bringing leases up to market value.
“We’re trying to make the mall stronger and support itself and with that some weeding may occur of people’s own decision,” Gordon said.
Molburg has been trying to sell the Hallmark store for almost two years.
“I am very sad about closing,” Molburg said. “People love Hallmark and this is the last one in Southeast.”
Holly’s Hallmark (Molburg named the store after her daughter) originally went on sale for $30,000, plus the price of inventory. Molburg dropped it to $65,000 for everything.
“I still just keep praying somebody will walk up to me and say, ‘Hey, for everything you’ve got, you take this much money.’ It just pains me to have it closed,” Molburg said.
One of the store’s top sellers were the Hallmark Christmas ornaments.
“People are just going to be heartsick that they’re not going to get their ornaments in town anymore. It’s unimaginable how many people bought Hallmark ornaments,” Molburg said.
Other popular items included Yankee Candle products, Willow Tree angel figurines, gift wrapping, party ware and, of course, Hallmark greeting cards.
“Every day, that was the bread and butter of the business,” Molburg said.
Molburg would like to close by April 1. She’s on a month-to-month lease with Loveless/Tollefson Properties. Molburg employs two full-time and one part-time worker at the store. Besides owning the Hallmark, Molburg works for the Department of Labor in the unemployment call center.
Prior to taking over the Hallmark in 2007, Molburg owned another gift store in the Nugget Mall, Sentiments, across from Rodfather’s Broiler for 10 years. She also ran a Hallmark specialty section at a store she owned in Haines. She’s been in business for herself since 1988.
Molburg started to cry as she talked about closing Holly’s Hallmark. But, she said, it’s time.