Local News

Longtime businesses closing up shop

SEBRING - When Sue Law opened her women's fashions boutique in Avon Park 26 years ago it was nearly the size of cubby hole.

Even though she expanded and relocated, the name Sue's Cubby Hole remained unchanged.

Because of health problems, Law is holding a going-out-of-business sale as she hopes to find a buyer for her store.

Law's is one of two local longtime businesses that weathered the recession but now will be closing because of other reasons.

Law opened the Cubby Hole on U.S. 27 South across from the original Avon Park Walmart (now Anytime Fitness).

"We started as a little cubby hole right next to Fedco," Law said. When Fedco wanted to expand, the shopping center's landlord offered her a location three times larger without a rent increase.

"So the Cubby Hole was no longer a small store, it grew," she said. "When Walmart closed and moved to Sebring, our business went down so we followed them to Sebring."

For 16 years the store has been located near the north end of the Sebring Square Shopping Center.

The store later added clothing for babies and children up to age 4.

"I started getting the baby things because the little baby socks were so adorable," Law said. She put the socks in the display window, which brought the grandmothers into the store.

She tried to sell her business, which would have been easier than doing a going-out-of-business sale, Law said.

But, she still has an interested buyer who may be able to take over the store after the inventory is reduced.

Law is currently planning to close in April.

"I'm 72 and my husband is 80 so I think it is time that I could retire," Law said.

Another longtime Highlands County business will be closing soon - Lake Country Jewelers on North Main Avenue, Lake Placid.

Like Law, owners Hector and Sally Hernandez have been trying unsuccessfully to find someone to buy out their business.

"No one wants to come forward and continue it as a jewelry store so we are retiring and just moving away," Hector said. "We have been talking about doing something like this for a few years and we decided that we could wait forever before anything happens."

So the business they started in 1991 will be going out of business and closing at the end of the month, he said.

Hernandez explained he and his wife came to Lake Placid from Tallahassee in 1977. It's home for his wife so they will be moving back to Tallahassee where their son lives.

The Hernandezes own the building that houses the jewelry store so they will be putting the building up for sale, he said. "We will see if somebody else wants to come in and put something different in here."

In his area of North Avenue, Hernandez has seen businesses come and go and change hands.

"It just shows that we are still a viable community and people still want to do business in our town," he said. "In our little area here the stores have been occupied.

"We've never had anything sit vacant for too long. I know on Interlake Boulevard it is a different story. There are some vacancies there."