End of an era

Published 10:56 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Janet and Stan Piersa plan to close Janet's Gifts on South Street once they sell the store's inventory.

FRANKLIN—After 40 years in business, Janet and Stan Piersa are preparing to close Janet’s Gifts.

“It’s sad to leave because I’ve enjoyed my people so much and we’ve had such good customers and such loyal customers,” Janet Piersa said. “Franklin’s a good place.”

The South Street business opened in June 1970 as a beauty and gift shop, but for the past decade has operated solely as a gift shop. The Piersas are closing to retire.

“We’re just getting older; my husband will soon be 73 and I’ll soon be 67, and we just feel like it’s time to close,” Janet Piersa said. “We’ve got two children and four grandchildren, and we want to spend some time with them.”

They considered “selling out, but “with the mill closing and all that, we would help the people here in Franklin if we just went on and reduced it and let them buy it because they’ve been faithful customers for years.”

Ringing up a customer from Murfreesboro, N.C., on Monday, Janet Piersa said the business draws a lot of out of town traffic from Hampton Roads cities and North Carolina. Business has been good.

“From the time we opened, we’ve had good business, and since we’ve put everything on sale, they have really patronized us,” she said.

The Piersas don’t have employees.

“I’m the best salesman she’s got because I’m the only salesman she’s got,” Stan Piersa joked.

Signs around the store advertise 60 percent off, but Janet Piersa admits it’ll take a while to sell off the entire inventory.

“We really don’t have a deadline. We own the building, and we really don’t know exactly when (the store will close),” she said.

The couple plans to sell the building.

Janet Piersa said both she and her husband have enjoyed talking to and getting to know so many people at the store, but it’s time to move on.

“It’s been fun,” she said.