LESLIE, Mich. (WLNS) – Mitchell’s department store is closing down. For good. It’s been a part of the Leslie community for more than 135 years.

It opened in 1886 selling just about any type of clothing you can think of.

The current owners have run the corner store since 1981. They say the time has come to retire.

“If you think about what the business has gone through in the 137 years. Two world wars, a depression and other wars and other ups and downs in the economy,” said Jim Mitchell, a fourth-generation owner.

Jim and Nancy Mitchell were the fourth generation of his family to own Mitchell’s department store.

Jim’s great-grandfather worked his way up to own a store even though he dropped out of school in the fifth grade. There are a lot of memories there.

“I remember having to come in tear-down cardboard boxes. When we had groceries I remember working in the groceries where I had to take the spuds out of the potatoes,” said Jim.

Cheryl Butcher has worked at Mitchell’s for 12 years. She knows what made this place so special.
Customers were always treated like family.

“She will call you by name, she will give you a hug. If she hasn’t seen you in forever she will talk to you for hours. And that’s what I think is special about them because they know you by name. They care about you they genuinely care about you,” said Butcher.

Mitchell says it was a tough decision to close up shop, adding that it has been a privilege to serve Leslie.

Dozens of customers have been stopping in to say goodbye. Most are sad.

But a comment from one man stuck with Jim for days.

“He had a comment that was very meaningful. His comment was well that sucks,” said Jim.

Jim and Nancy say owning Mitchell’s has been a great ride. But they will still call the Leslie community home.

It’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you later.

“We’re looking forward to spending more time with our grandchildren and their sporting activities. And then maybe traveling down to Florida when we feel we can. And in the summertime, we are on the golf course most time,” said Jim.