CEDAR RAPIDS — Smulekoff’s Home Store, a longtime staple of downtown, started its closeout sale on Saturday. It opened its doors to a pack of bargain hunters.
“It was a shock,” said Tracy English, remembering when he first heard news of the store closing. He was there with other shoppers to see the store off with one last bit of business.
“My bed is old and needs to be replaced,” English said. “I’ve been here all my life, ever since I was a kid riding the bus downtown, this is where you went for part of it. I remember when you had to get your driver’s license down in the basement here.”
Some came here to shop, others to offer their spouses some moral support, like Jim Fleming of North Liberty.
“She’s the one that drags me here to do this stuff, so...I’d rather be at the Iowa game,” Fleming said.
Within minutes of the doors opening, the building’s four floors were already filled with customers, keeping Theresa Blair on her toes.
“It has been the busiest we’ve probably ever seen in this store,” said Blair.
Sofas, recliners, and area rugs were some of the hot items. Just about everything was half-off, or deeply discounted. Blair said an outside company is assisting with the liquidation, as this is not business-as-usual for Smulekoff’s.
“This will be good for the customers too, because they’re getting a very good deal on nice merchandise,” Blair told us. She said the popular items will go quickly, and eventually the less sought-after merchandise may see even bigger price cuts. But despite the smiles gained from finding a good deal, there’s an air of disappointment here too, knowing that this longtime staple will soon be gone.
Kathleen Danninger, a new resident of Cedar Rapids, shared that sentiment, saying, “it’s sad, when it’s been in business so long.”