UPDATE: All Merra-Lee Shops in Geneva Going Out of Business; Shops Closed Until 9 AM Wednesday to Prepare for Sales

Chamber of Commerce e-blast announces that Merra-Lee shops are closing.

10:20 a.m. UPDATE:

This is the letter from Mike Simon to his customers:

Dear Friends:

My father, Sol, who was a founding partner when the original Merra-Lee Shop opened 82 years ago, taught me to face facts and look to the future. The fact is our retail businesses at the corner of State and Third streets are no longer profitable. As landlord as well as merchant, I realize the Merra-Lee Shops need to close.

The Merra-Lee Shops, including , , ,  and  will be closed Friday through Tuesday to reduce prices and prepare for The Merra-Lee Shops Going Out of Business Sales starting Wednesday, Nov. 16. We have more than $1 million invested in fall and winter inventory that must be liquidated. Please shop early while selections are at their peak.

Starting Wednesday at 9 a.m. sharp, you can save up to 50 percent or more on all the clothes, accesories and shoes you count on from us. Each of the shops is participatiing, and all inventory is included (except breast prosthesis products.)

We are having several store hours during the first week of sales:

  • 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16
  • 10 a.m. to 7 .m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17 and 18
  • 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
  • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20

Many of you know I am also co-owner or The Little Traveler, our unique 36-room store in a Victorian house. The Little Traveler is a cornerstone of Geneva's shopping community, and I will focus my energy to making it even better.

The world changes, and while this marks the end of the Merra-Lee Shops, my commitment to Geneva runs deep. Once the Going Out of Business Sales are over, we will be redeveloping our property on South Third Street to strengthen our downtown.

Thank you to the many customers and employees who are all such a big part of the Merra-Lee family. We've made countless friends for which we are so very grateful. I will continue to do everything I can to merit your continued confidence.

Your Truly,

Mike Simon


9:30 a.m.—A Chamber of Commerce e-blast has just announced the closing of all Merra-Lee Shops—longtime institutions of downtown Geneva.

Mike Simon wrote this in the Chamber of Commerce e-mail.

"Dear Fellow Chamber Members,

"Today marks the beginning of the last chapter of the Merra-Lee Shops. Afer 82 years, we are closing our doors. Our Going Out of Business Sale will start next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the stores are closed while we prepare.

"As some of you know, I am co-owner of . That business continues to be strong, and I'm looking forward to being able to make it even stronger as I will be able to devote my full attention to it.

"Merra-Lee's closing doesn't signal a weakness in the uniqueness of downtown Geneva. On the contrary, if not for the vibrancy and creativity of our many retail and restaurant neighbors, and the tremendous work of the , we would never have survived this long.

"I look forward to redeveloping our storefronts in order to bring stronger tenants to the downtown, and to being part of Geneva for many years to come."

Nancy Bell November 11, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Beth Bales November 11, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Nancy said it well: wowsers, indeed.
Mary Bencini November 11, 2011 at 06:02 PM
This is such sad news for Geneva. I buy so many of my clothes at the Merra-Lee Shops, and I will miss these stores and all the people who work at them so very much.
Jamie Lyn Weaver November 11, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I am so so sad. I may never buy new clothes again as I do not like mall shopping. Most of my clothes in my closet are from the Merra-Lee Shops.
Lois Lane November 11, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I've been shopping at the Merra Lee stores since the '70's. I could always find a nice sweater or pair of slacks at Merra Lee. The Meeting Place had beautiful and unique clothes. And the East Room was remarkable. I will miss all of these shops!
Emily Rogers November 11, 2011 at 11:19 PM
A sad day for downtown Geneva and our loyal shoppers. Good luck Michael.
Julie Brown November 11, 2011 at 11:42 PM
So sad to hear the news. Best of luck with the redevelopment. What a loss for down town Geneva. Julie Brown
Sandy Kaczmarski November 12, 2011 at 03:19 AM
It is very sad. I'm sure it was a very difficult decision. But at least The Little Traveler is going strong. I've got to get out there to do some holiday shopping soon!
Jane E. Cladis November 12, 2011 at 04:00 AM
A great loss for downtown Geneva and all residents. I can't imagine Third Street without the Merra Lee shops!
Katherine Filkins November 14, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I felt deep sadness as I drove down 3rd street. This economy is dropping our lovely town to its' knees. Shop Geneva!!


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