RENO, Nev.- After 25 years in business, Ben Franklin Crafts is closing its doors.
“We’re sad about it going and we’re sorry it has to be like this but it’s just one of those things,” owner Gene Allensworth said. “Our lease is up and we’ve been unable to negotiate an extended lease. The economy is the dictator; business had dropped off considerably in the last four years and we just can’t continue.”
The news came as a shock to the Ben Franklin staff.
“I cried a lot, there’s just an empty feeling inside,” employee Dee Ellsworth said. “We’re a tight-knit little store and I can’t imagine coming to work and not seeing my ladies here. You don’t find what we have everywhere; we’re really lucky. When one of us is feeling down, we all feel down and we try and boost each other up. Not having that every day is going to be a little different.”
“I love it here, I can’t find a better place to work,” employee Kathy Myers said. “The people who work here are family and the customers are dedicated.”
Right now everything in the store is 25% off and some of the merchandise is being donated.
“Wooster High came in and we donated a bunch of materials for the art department and the photography department,” Allensworth said. “The Children’s Museum in Carson City came and picked up some materials too so we’ve had some donations to those groups.”
There’s a lot of merchandise still in the store so Allensworth says he doesn’t know exactly when they’ll be closing the doors; the lease is up at the end of the year. Most of the employees say they’re staying to the end. Some know what’s next; others don’t.
“I’m enlisting,” Myers said. “I have three degrees that I’m not using, the economy is crazy and I have two kids in tow. I have to insure them so that’s what I’m going to do.”
“They say when one door closes another one opens,” Ellsworth said. “I hope something opens. We’ll get through this, you always do but nine years is a long time and it’s going to be very sad. Hopefully everything will go well for everyone that works here.”