Lynn’s Hallmark loses lease, plans Valentine's Day closure | The Wilson Times
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Lynn’s Hallmark loses lease, plans Valentine's Day closure

Posted on January 20, 2022

Updated on January 23, 2022

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Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks through some clothing at Lynn’s Hallmark on Thursday. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in preparation for a Feb. 14 closure.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks through some clothing at Lynn’s Hallmark on Thursday. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in preparation for a Feb. 14 closure.

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks at shoes and bags Thursday at Lynn’s Hallmark. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in advance of a Feb. 14 closure.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks at shoes and bags Thursday at Lynn’s Hallmark. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in advance of a Feb. 14 closure.

Rachel Floars and Bridgette Wilson shop Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark, which is closing on Feb. 14.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Rachel Floars and Bridgette Wilson shop Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark, which is closing on Feb. 14.

Rachel Floars of Pinetops browses ornaments Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark. The Heritage Crossing store is closing on Feb. 14 and clearing out inventory with significant sales.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Rachel Floars of Pinetops browses ornaments Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark. The Heritage Crossing store is closing on Feb. 14 and clearing out inventory with significant sales.

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks through some clothing at Lynn’s Hallmark on Thursday. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in preparation for a Feb. 14 closure.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks through some clothing at Lynn’s Hallmark on Thursday. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in preparation for a Feb. 14 closure.

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks at shoes and bags Thursday at Lynn’s Hallmark. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in advance of a Feb. 14 closure.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks at shoes and bags Thursday at Lynn’s Hallmark. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in advance of a Feb. 14 closure.

Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks at shoes and bags Thursday at Lynn’s Hallmark. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in advance of a Feb. 14 closure.
Rachel Floars and Bridgette Wilson shop Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark, which is closing on Feb. 14.
Rachel Floars of Pinetops browses ornaments Thursday at Lynn's Hallmark. The Heritage Crossing store is closing on Feb. 14 and clearing out inventory with significant sales.
Bridgette Wilson of Sims looks through some clothing at Lynn’s Hallmark on Thursday. Much of the Heritage Crossing store’s merchandise is on sale in preparation for a Feb. 14 closure.
Quote

It is emotional for us and for the staff. They are on the front line. They have got customers they’ve served for many, many, many years, so it is difficult to say goodbye.”
— 
Gary Ashworth, vice president of Lynn's Hallmark group

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7821

Lynn’s Hallmark is closing after owners said the Heritage Crossing storefront was leased out from under them.

“Our real estate professionals were calling and calling and calling trying to renew our lease, but they weren’t getting an answer,” said Gary Ashworth, vice president of the group that operates the Wilson store and five others in the region. “They finally called us back and said they signed a lease with someone else.”

Buff City Soap Co. reportedly signed a 10-year lease for the storefront. A call to the owner of Heritage Crossing was not returned in time for this story.

“They are paying more rent, and I think we could have met that based on what they told us, but they signed a 10-year lease and we may or may not have been able to do that,” Ashworth said. “We didn’t have the opportunity though.”

Hallmark used to have about 4,500 stores across the country, but now has around 1,200 stores. Ashworth said his family opened their first Hallmark store in 1969 in Kinston, expanding through the region. In 1976, Lynn’s opened in the Parkwood Shopping Center and moved into the mall when it opened a few years later. The store moved to Heritage Crossing about 15 years ago.

“In the old days, landlords wanted a tenant mix with like a Hallmark, a jewelry store, a shoe store and such. Different categories had different sales and could pay different rents. Jewelry stores would pay more, but now there is not a whole lot of retail left,” Ashworth said. “It is mostly restaurants and service. The Apex shopping center where our store is was all retail, but now we have a doctor’s office on one side and a gym on the other. Now it is all about who has the highest sales and the best chance to survive.”

Ashworth said Lynn’s Hallmark worked to find another location in western Wilson but was unsuccessful. On Tuesday, the business announced the impending closure on Facebook and received hundreds of comments and reactions from locals lamenting the loss.

“It is always very sad. It is emotional for us and for the staff,” he said. “They are on the front line. They have got customers they’ve served for many, many, many years, so it is difficult to say goodbye.”

Some of the inventory has been sent to other stores struggling to fill shelves due to supply chain disruptions, but the Wilson store also is running sales on the bulk of its remaining inventory before the Valentine’s Day closure. Pandora jewelry is not included in the sales.

“People are busier and busier now, but when I started in ’82, you had to go to a Hallmark store or Belk to get a Hallmark card,” Ashworth recalled. “Now you can get them at Walmart, Kohl’s and all the grocery stores. It makes sense because when women or men get off work, they’ll get groceries and pick up a card while there. They don’t have time to make a special trip to a Hallmark store.”

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