Area stores to close because of economy

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Two local long-time clothing businesses are cashing in on their final sales. Luden's Outdoor Outfitters, the oldest clothing shop in Charleston and S&K Menswear stores are both going out of business.

Luden's was established in 1867 right here in Charleston. The Alexander Street store is a place owner Sheila Butler has called her second home, but now the ten year lease on the building has run out, and the owners have no plans to reopen anytime soon because of the economy.

"The economy has not helped," Butler said. "We would have to make a very smart business decision in waiting, giving some time, through possibly the end of the year."

The 142 year old store was originally a marine supple store.

"Just the array of the artifacts that are up here has just been amazing for me to put my hands on," Johnny Slade said.

Slade says items include, "A wonderful sexton dating back 1750s, another sexton dating back to the 1880s. Got a pair of harbor lights, a barometer."

The owners plan to auction all the collectibles.

Luden's is the oldest retailer in downtown Charleston and even celebrities have come into the store to pick up their shirts, and the last time they'll be available will be at the auction next week.

Over at the Charleston S&K Menswear, several shoppers stopped by to check out deals between 30-50% off all inventory.

"They've got some great deals going on inside, and there's a wedding this weekend, so we're in from out of town but we're happy they still had the tuxedoes for us," Todd Litman said.

Nothing is held back at the store, as all 105 stores nationwide go out of business because of the economy. S&K Menswear has two stores in the area, one at the Northwoods Mall and one in West Ashley.

For now Luden's will remain closed, but the old items will auctioned Friday May 29th, with a preview of the items on Wednesday and Thursday. The owners say when the economy turns around they'd like to try to reopen the store.

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