BURLEY — After 102 years in business in the Magic Valley, King’s Variety announced Tuesday the closure of all of its stores.
“It was our grandfather’s and father’s desire to provide everyday products to small communities that did not have access to reasonably priced goods,” a company statement said. “That business model allowed us to build a number of successful stores throughout the intermountain west over a long period of time.”
The stores were founded in Burley in 1915.
“The retail climate has radically changed in the past decade much as the job market did for our ancestor during the 1800s,” the statement said. “With the advent of both large-box retail stores and the internet, anyone with a computer can buy from millions of vendors around the world. Brick and mortar stores need feet and faces to survive as we have salaries, rents and other costs to cover. Unfortunately for us that is not the current landscape.”
The company had planned to re-open a store in Twin Falls in the old Hastings building. The city approved a building permit for the company earlier this month and Director of Operations Todd Tayor said the company was hoping to open in early spring.
The closure includes King’s of Hailey, a store that unveiled a 6,500-square-foot expansion last fall. Employees were told the news Monday. The store’s manager said employees are like family and there were tears and shock during the announcement.
King’s operates 19 stores in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana. The statement did not include information on the timing of the store closures or how many employees are affected. Many King’s stores have about a dozen employees.
“King’s is a place where a lot of people have shopped their entire lives,” Doug Manning, Burley economic development director said. “Me included.”
The M.H. King family have made generous donations over the years to many projects in Mini-Cassia, Manning said.
Herman King donated $1 million toward the construction of the King Fine Arts Center, which was named after him.
The company provided a great service in the community over the years, Manning said.
Manning remembers when he was a child the store was in downtown Burley and carried everything a boy might want from snacks to live turtles.
“My grandkids are going to be sad because they love to go to King’s when they’re here,” he said.
Calls to Taylor were not returned Tuesday.