ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- It will be the end of an era in Pearl River.
Mel's Army-Navy, which opened in 1955, announced it is closing at the end of July. Chris Frawley, who had owned the store for five years, said he is closing after failing to find a buyer.
"It is still a tough climate for small business owners," Frawley said. "Other people were just interested in the space and not keeping Mel’s alive.
Frawley ran Mel's, which while working full-time in business development and communications for an international law firm in New York City and said balancing both became a challenge.
"When you work seven days a week and sometimes 12 to 14 hours a day, you miss out on a lot," Frawley said. "There are more important things in life than working and making money and I am looking forward to spending more time with family and friends."
Mel’s opened in 1955 in a 1,000 square foot space at 25 S. William Street. Over the years the store to a 4,000 square feet and an additional 1,000 square feet of warehouse space. Mel's sells work clothes, work boots and jeans, catering to the blue collar customer
Frawley said the store clearly meant a lot to the Pearl River community. He remembers going to Mel's after he moved to Pearl River in the 80s and began working at the store in 1989 until he moved to Albany in 2002.
"Three generations of families have shopped in this store," Frawley said. "Mel’s also always had long term employees who were able to get to know our customers over the years and Mel instilled in us a sense of customer service. It’s a level of service you just don’t receive shopping online or in department stores or big box stores."
Closing the store was the hardest decision Frawley ever made and he said he will miss his customers the most.
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