State College clothing store plans closure

Clothes Mentor in the Hills Plaza will close by the end of May, when the lease ends
Clothes Mentor in the Hills Plaza will close by the end of May, when the lease ends

If the numbers don’t add up, it’s time to close.

Clothes Mentor owner Edie Binkley said sales have been “sluggish” since the fall, causing her to plan to close the store.

“That’s the long of the short of it,” she said. “I’m just really not getting enough business to pay the bills comfortably. It went really well for a few years, but last fall things fell off.”

Binkley, who opened the store in 2010 at 176 Rolling Ridge Drive, said she won’t relocate. The store will close by the end of May, which is when the lease ends.

“It’s a franchise, and I’d have to do a whole new rebuild somewhere else,” she said. “With the high rents out there, it probably wouldn’t make a difference where it was ... I’d like to thank the community for their support for the last six years. It was a good run, but I feel times are changing.”

Evolving ways to buy from retailers, Binkley said, likely had an effect on business.

“The generations are shifting, which has a big factor with the way we shop,” she said. “We’re not buying clothes like we used to. Millennials are up and coming and shopping online more. More and more you see on TV you can buy things with free shipping, or you can get ‘great’ deals. That plays into the success of brick and mortar stores. The Internet played a big role in this.”

There are some things the Internet can’t offer, including giving back to a community.

“One of my goals has always been to be a part of the community, which I’ve done with the store,” Binkley said. “I could help people. I was a drop-off point for Pets Come First. I did things for Bridge of Hope, a campaign for getting high school girls prom gowns, Toys for Tots. Those things will be a loss for the community, because it wasn’t just a business. It’s a place where you can give back.”

Binkley said the store can close, but some things from it will last.

“I have a ton of loyal customers,” she said. “They’ve become my friends, and they’ve been supportive from the beginning. Now they’re supporting me when I’m closing and moving on to a new chapter.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli