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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • St. James losing downtown business

  • Dueber’s moved into the old Ben Franklin store on 1st Ave. South St. James in 1992. The chain of Dueber’s stores has been in business since 1946.
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  •     Last Friday, Dueber’s announced on it’s facebook page it was going out of business, “It is with a sad heart today that I tell those of you that don't already know that starting tomorrow Dueber's begins their going out of business sale.
        “All Dueber's stores are closing. Thank you to those that regularly shopped there. I wished this day would never come.”
        Dueber’s moved into the old Ben Franklin store on 1st Ave. South St. James in 1992. The chain of Dueber’s stores has been in business since 1946.     
        The  department store chain based in Norwood Young America currently has nine stores. At one time the chain had 28 stores, but has been at nine for many years.
        CEO and President, Chuck Dueber said, “We do appreciate the many customers that supported our retail store over many years.
        Dueber said, “The decision to close was probably made years ago, contingent on selling either the Waconia Store building or Young America Office Warehouse.”
        On his future plan Dueber said, “I would consider working part time – or even full time for a couple of years if the right opportunity becomes available. But retirement as an option sounds agreeable.
        “We also thank our local Store Managers, Pam Nelson from Madelia, and Doreen Weckwerth of St James, both have been with Dueber's for many years. It's all about having the right people, customers and staff.
        “Dueber's were ideal type of stores for communities such as St James for many years, but the retail world changes like everything else.”
        Dueber said that the chain closing was partly because, “Current times are challenging for the independent retailer.             “Retail has been overdone, especially with the expansion of "big box" retailers now coming into small outstate communities, in addition to internet retail options.         “The choices are never ending. You can only ‘split the pie into so many pieces’.
        Dueber continued by commenting on the changing nature of business in small towns,  “Smaller communities in Minnesota and throughout our country are ideal places to live and raise a family. People  within these communities have to decide whether their town is worth supporting. Not only does it take a village to raise a child, but is also takes a village to sustain local businesses.”
        St. James manager Weckwerth said, “The town (St. James) has supported us well.” She emphasized that it wasn’t because of economic issues that the St. James store was closing.  
    Page 2 of 2 -     Weckwerth did not know how long the going out of business sale would run, but she thought it would continue until most of the merchandise was sold. The St. James store has two employees.
        Dueber said the going out of business would continue, “As long as we have merchandise to sell.”

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