A local business will close its doors permanently in the coming weeks, ending decades of service to the community. By the end of November, Montross Wholesale Store on Kings Highway will be no more.
“I’ve gotten to the age where I don’t want to work as hard I used to,” said owner Eric Kirkland. “It’s a labor-intensive business. I bought everything myself and trucked it in myself.”
The store opened in March 1990, Kirkland said, and joined four other branches developed in the Northern Neck during a 24-year period, namely Warsaw Wholesale Store and consignment shop, Lively Wholesale in Northumberland County and Colonial Beach Discount.
Only two stores remain today and are located in Westmoreland County after he started in 1988. Kirkland said it’s been great to have served the community.
“It was a nice feeling, we have great customers and they would love to come in and chitchat,” Kirkland said. “Physically, it’s a small store compared to the big box stores…but my selection was broad and the prices were good. Once people started shopping with me they would come back.
“We have the best customers in the world,” Kirkland added. “I watched families grow up in front of me…so I have had a very loyal group of clientele over the years and all I can do is thank the community for that.”
Colonial Beach Discount will remain open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will sell some food items, but more casual wear and collectibles. Kirkland said he hopes to expand and sell jewelry and fishing items.
Kirkland said he is thankful for all of his employees, and said he had little turnover.
“People would work for me and then retire,” Kirkland sad. “I don’t know if I’m a softie or a good boss, one or the other, but we made it. I must have done something right.”
Connie Schneider and Kelly Lemke are among those loyal employees who have remained the longest, Kirkland said. Schneider has been with the group since August, 2001 and Lemke since April, 2003.
Kirkland said when he sells off enough of his excess inventory he will then close the doors completely. He doesn’t expect to be open after Thanksgiving.