MASSENA - Clopmans Furniture, one of Massenas longest running businesses and a downtown mainstay for decades, is closing its doors.
Co-managers Frank and Miriam Catapano have decided to retire and shutter the Main Street store after 83 years. Clearance sales began on Thursday, and the business will close after the merchandise is liquidated.
Mr. Catapano said the couples grown children had left the area and there was no one else to take over.
I reached the point in my life when I recognized more of it is behind me than ahead of me, Mr. Catapano, 66, said.
We had a great run. Its been great serving the community. Hopefully, well leave on an up note, he said. All things must pass.
Miriams grandfather, Louis Clopman, opened the store on Water Street in 1929 after emigrating from Eastern Europe. Her father, Harry, 97, ran it for decades, as well as her brother, Joseph, who retired in 2008. Mr. and Mrs. Catapano began working there 20 years ago.
Clopmans was one of the last holdouts from a once-bustling business district. Shoppers could walk from M.H. Fishmans Five and Dime, to J.J. Newberrys, to Slavin and Shulkin Furniture and Jewelry, to Clopmans, all within a few blocks on Main and Water streets.
H. Olin Peets, 90, who started Peets Jewelers in 1950, likened downtown Massena in its heyday to Times Square, with no storefront vacancies and plenty of foot traffic.
We had mighty good times down there, Mr. Peets said. We had drug stores. We had nice mens stores. You could get anything downtown.
The camaraderie - thats what made downtown, he added.
One by one, each of those stores closed except for Clopmans. The village tore down much of the former Slavin and Shulkin complex two years ago. St. Lawrence County took title to the former Fishmans building, now the Sunrise Plaza, last fall. A fire destroyed a couple of buildings across the street from Clopmans four years ago, and nothing was built in its place.
But Clopmans remained committed to downtown, Mr. Catapano said. The Clopman family moved the store from Water Street to Main in 1956, where it has remained ever since.
We believed in the downtown. We had opportunities to relocate outside of town, he said. The family decided downtown was a good place to be so we stayed.
Mr. Catapano said Clopmans and other family owned businesses in Massena close because there is no younger generation to keep them going.
Nothing is forever, he said. Were not a multinational company. Were not a chain. Were a family-owned business.
Mrs. Catapano said Clopmans has served many generations of Massena families.
Were thankful and grateful to the community for 83 years of patronage, partnership and support theyve given us, Mrs. Catapano added. Thats why weve been here 83 years.
Harry Clopman is a Massena native. Years ago, Clopmans served the employees of the paper mills, General Motors and other industries in the north country, he said.
We enjoyed doing business in Massena with all the folks we knew, he said.
Thursday afternoon, orange clearance stickers dotted the remaining merchandise in the store. Customers and old friends stopped in. Ann C. Taylor, 70, of Massena had shopped there for over 30 years and was in search of a sofa on Thursday.
The service has always been excellent. You cant forget quality, she said. The way youre treated when you come into a store really means quite a lot.