Taylor's to close its doors

October 10, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Taylor's Furniture Store, an Ellicott City landmark that once sold everything from guitar strings to living room furniture, is closing after 70 years.

Owner Marvin Sachs, who took over the business in 1979, said he is ready to retire.

"This is for me to smell the roses," said Mr. Sachs, 65. "This is one time for me to enjoy."

Mr. Sachs plans a going-out-of-business sale starting this weekend. After that, he's not sure what he will do. The store's last day has not been determined.

He wants to lease the three-story, stone building -- at Old Columbia Pike and Main Street -- to either a single retailer or several upscale boutiques.

"From there, the plans are indefinite," he said. "I will run a sale and will figure it out from there."

Area merchants expressed sadness at Mr. Sachs' imminent departure, and mourned the loss of a longtime retailer anchored in the business district.

"I think it's a major chapter of Ellicott City coming to a close," said Leslie Meilman, president of the Ellicott City Business Association. "We have a long-established retail business that brought in a steady stream of customers."

"Any time you lose an old institution, it affects you," said Pat Patterson, owner of PJ's Restaurant on Main Street, up the street from Taylor's. "Everybody hates to see you go."

Ms. Meilman said the building's prime location will easily attract merchants looking to open a shop in historic Ellicott City.

"It's a major building on the street at a prominent spot on the corner with large windows," she said. "It should be retail with one owner or a mall made of many boutiques."

Merchants will also miss Mr. Sachs' friendship and unwavering support of the business association.

"He really cares about the town," said Enalee Bounds, owner of Ellicott's Country Store, an antiques shop on Main Street. "He always supports everything and is always lending things. I run over there and get change."

Mr. Sachs took over the business 15 years ago after his uncle, William Phillips, died. Mr. Phillips bought the business from the Taylor family in 1943, but retained the store's name. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the store offered everything from furniture and appliances to jewelry and lawn mowers.

"It was a general merchandise store," said Mr. Sachs, who used to stock paint supplies as a boy during the summers.

By the time he began operating the store, retail merchandising had become specialized. Major chains such as Kmart and Ames had replaced traditional general merchandise stores, such as Taylor's.

"When I took over, I concentrated on the furniture end," Mr. Sachs said. "I got rid of appliances."

Taylor's now features solid wood furniture, carpet and home accessories.

"This was a very emotional experience for me and for the employees," Mr. Sachs said. About a dozen employees work at the store.

Everett McIntyre, a 20-year employee, has mixed feelings about the closing. "I hate to see it closed, but he wants to retire and I want to retire too," said Mr. McIntyre, 71. "I'll probably go home and do some hunting."

Jack Palmer, Sr., a longtime customer, has fond memories of Taylor's. He was 14 when he established his credit there, buying a wristwatch and a 14-carat gold ring with his initial "J" carved into the ring's onyx stone.

"It's as beautiful now as when I bought it," Mr. Palmer said of the ring. "I'll never get rid of it."

Since then, Mr. Palmer has returned to the store to buy a gold wedding band for his wife of 42 years, Nadine, who also bought a sofa, reclining chair, refrigerator and other household goods from Taylor's.

"You can go in there and they know you by name," Mrs. Palmer said. "And if you were behind in payments, they didn't say anything. They realized people were against hard times."

Mr. Palmer will miss Taylor's old-fashioned service that valued customer loyalty. "It's passed through the generations," he said. "They treated you well."

Mr. Sachs plans to oversee any changes that occur in the building.

"I'm not leaving," he said. "I'm going to be here and make sure everything is done right."

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