SCOTTVILLE — After more than 30 years of business in downtown Scottville, Roy and Linda Holden, owners of Holden’s Home Emporium, are hanging it up at the end of the month.
Roy and Linda are ready to retire. They feel it’s as good a time as any.
“We’re tired,” Linda said. “We’re 73 … and we’ve been married 55 years in August, and we need to take a couple vacations. We haven’t done that in 20-some years.”
The Holdens will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at their South Main Street store, to say goodbye to their customers, give folks a chance to peruse what’s left of the quickly selling final merchandise, and to “come in for a last hug — those are free,” Linda said.
The Holdens have spent their entire lives in the area. In the early ’90s, they started out with rental properties, buying them, fixing them up and eventually selling them. They worked with partners Roger and Karen Fredericks, and around 1994, the two couples each kicked in $1,700 to start up what was then called R&R Furniture and More.
The Holdens bought out their partners in the 2000s, changing the name of the store to Holden’s Home Emporium, and “it’s all just gone from that,” Linda said.
Now, with retirement approaching, the couple is leaving a business that’s been a fixture of downtown Scottville for decades.
The last day of business will be Friday, March 31, and they’ll close up shop promptly at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s bittersweet because we’ve made a lot of friends here and met a lot of people,” Linda said, “but it’s mostly sweet because I’m excited about not having to come to work — in the snow and the ice — and every day.”
As for Roy, he hasn’t entirely decided how he feels about it all.
“I’m not sure yet,” Roy said. “We kept one building just to make sure.”
The building they’re hanging onto is at 114 W. Green St. They’ll use it for storage in the near future, but it’s also a potential income boost if they ever choose to sell it.
“We never made a lot of money on the furniture,” Roy said. “The money we made is because we bought our buildings — and then sold them.”
Though they’ll hang around until the end of April to clean out the store, they hope to be done as soon as they can. Roy doesn’t want to miss the gardening season.
“And this year I can stay ahead of the weeds,” Roy added
Business, for the most part, has been steady over the years, with plenty of returning customers treating the store as the first place to look when they need new or lightly used furniture.
The Holdens took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to suspend business for about three months in 2020, and they estimate it cost them “easily $100,000 in sales,” according to Roy.
They also had some other losses over the years, but mostly business has been good.
Most of the inventory at the store has been sold, and what remains is on sale. Remaining furniture and other items continue to be sold at a reduced price until everything’s gone.
The Holdens aren’t sure what’s next for the store. They said they’ve tried to get younger folks to come in and consider carrying on the business, but “they didn’t want to work 70-hour weeks,” according to Roy.
Despite living outside the city limits, the Holdens have been active in the Scottville community since day one, serving on various boards and committees.
Roy recently resigned from his position with the Downtown Development Authority, and he’s still serving on the city’s planning commission.
He plans to continue to be an advocate for Scottville, as he and Linda see good things on the horizon.
“We tried for 30 years to turn it around, and it’s just now doing so,” Roy said.
Linda said she’s optimistic about the city’s future, despite the fact that she and her husband — the last of the “old guard,” as she puts it — are stepping back.
“There are young people that are investing in the town, and they have energy and ideas. The town is going to grow. I think it’s going to be great,” she said. “It’s not going to be the same as it was, but you don’t want it to be the same. It needs to … change with the times.”
Both Roy and Linda said they’d like to see more young people in the area, walking up and down Main Street, taking in the town and enjoying what it has to offer.
Overall, Linda said she’s proud of business, and of the couple’s involvement with the community.
“We did OK,” she said. “We filled a spot that was needed in the community. …I think people have appreciated us throughout the years, and we’ve had many, many people that have kept coming back.”