LAST CHANCE TO SHOP: Caleb Abbott talks to saleswoman Sharon Ellers Tuesday at McClintock’s Quality Furniture about some of the furniture the store still has available.

Signs scream “Everything must be sold.”

But memories and a solid wood table — with three chairs — aren’t for sale.

Those pieces are promised to someone.

As for the memories Ken McClintock has from 62 years at McClintock’s Quality Furniture, those belong to him.

Saturday afternoon, after more than six decades in the furniture business, the North Washington Street store will close.

“My father started this business in 1946 selling used furniture. A few years later, he started selling new furniture.

“That was 62 years ago. I remember that because I am 62. I am the same age as this store,” said McClintock, sitting at a table on the showroom floor.

“I grew up here,” he said. “As a child, I remember making cardboard-box forts. I went from deliveries to management and back to deliveries. I love this business. Doing deliveries was like Christmas every day. You got to share in the excitement and joy of bringing new furniture into a home. That was fun.”

However, what hasn’t been fun for McClintock is his health, the economy and the quality of furniture being produced.

Better yet, lack of quality furniture.

“The quality is different. Good, solid-wood furniture people bought that lasted a long time isn’t there,” said McClintock’s daughter and store manager, Dawn Bowley. “Today’s furniture is chipped or paper wood. That’s not what we are known for.

“With the economy, we just aren’t getting competition from furniture stores, but mass merchants are selling furniture,” continued Bowley, adding in 2006, the store was honored by the state for being in business for 50 years. “It’s not quality furniture purchases; it’s purchases people keep for two or 10 years. It’s not the quality of furniture that has kept our customers, some of them second generation, coming through our doors.”

As a result, when customer Jim Dance recently left the store with a sand-colored loveseat, he sadly shook his head.

And it wasn’t because his wife, Deborah, didn’t find an item she was seeking.

“She was looking for a lamp, but we bought the loveseat because it was a good price,” he said. “It’s a sad day to know they are closing. I hate to see them go out of business. They have been here a long time. It is a visible part of what is going on in Kokomo.”

Down the street, Stan Rebber, owner of Granny’s Furniture, hates to see McClintock close as well.

“I am sadden to lose a good competitor,” said Rebber, whose store has been open for 30 years. “I thought the competition was good. We had a good relationship.”

But at 5 p.m. Saturday, the business relationship ends.

Memories remain.

Again, they are not for sell.

“My daughter is burned out. My son is successful in Carmel. And with the quality of today’s furniture, what is there to sell? It’s just not the same,” said McClintock.

“I never suspected we would do as well as we did. We did so much better than anyone ever said we would do. That’s amazing. I love this business.”

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. In order to liquidate the remaining items, prices are from 50 percent to 70 percent off retail.

K.O. Jackson can be reached at (765) 854-6739 or via e-mail

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