Ending on a high note, Saffees closes after 96 years of business

Fashion & Beauty / HER Community / News & Notes / Stories / January 15, 2019

Story and photos by Sally Ince

Commemorating their final day of business with heartfelt smiles and a champagne toast, Saffees clothing store has closed their doors after 96 years of service, fashion and friendship.

The four siblings who owned Saffees announced in October they would be retiring the business to focus more on family. For three months after their announcement both owners and co-workers were showered with love and gratitude, bringing to light how dearly missed they will be.

Co-owner Judy Howard, center, makes a champagne toast to memories Dec. 15 while including the portrait of her mother, Lorraine Mercurio, after she closed the doors at Saffees downtown.

“The people in the community have really wrapped around us and really thanked us a thousand times over for what we’ve done and you can’t say enough but thank you to the community, you really can’t,” co-owner Judy Howard said.

“We’ve had the sweetest notes and there will never be anything like it again,” she added.

But although retirement was hard decision to make, the family is looking forward to the bright futures ahead of them including a full Christmas together.

“The one wish we asked for,” Howard commented.

“I’ve been here 45 years and Christmas has just been a half of a blur so this year we’re spending Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all doing Christmas. In fact the kids are getting matching pajamas,” she said.

Howard also plans to travel more, do some volunteer work, and relax with the grandkids especially after working nonstop during Saffees’ final days of business, which packed the store with numerous women and some very patient husbands for their final sales.

When closing time finally came, the family, co-workers and friends gathered around to remove the portrait of previous owner and mother Lorraine Mercurio, who passed away this summer, and toast to all the memories at Saffees.

When asking Howard if there was anything she would like to personally say to all of her customers she said: “Thank you for the support through all the years and not just the store but for supporting me. It’s not just buying stuff in the store and being true to the store, but being true to me, coming to me and making me who I am.”


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Samantha Pogue




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