Quincy department store closes doors after 34 years

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Vaughn and Bonita Vordahl stand inside their Quincy department store. The couple will be closing the doors to Vordahl's soon, after 34 years of business. For more photos, click here.

QUINCY - Vaughn and Bonita Vordahl, owners of Vordahl's department store in Quincy, recently announced they will soon close the doors to their family business.

The couple cited poor economic conditions as the reason for closing.

"We watched the rise of big retailers, and we can no longer compete," said Vaughn.

The Vordahls have not set an exact closing date for their store, since they will remain open until they sell the majority of their remaining inventory.

Vaughn said that opening his own business was always a no-brainer, since he grew up helping out at his father's business in the Spokane Valley.

He originally went to work in Seattle after college for a major insurance company, however Vaughn quickly realized the fast-paced city life wasn't for him.

"I would rather be in a smaller town and control my own destiny," he said.

Vaughn, and his wife Bonita, then moved from Seattle to Quincy and established the Vordahl's department store in 1978.

The store has sold clothing, gift items, shoes, toys, knitting supplies and other general merchandise over the years.

"It's just an old-fashioned department store," said Bonita.

While Vaughn was no stranger to family business, Bonita said she never expected she would be a business owner until she met her husband.

"I always knew what we were going to do someday," she said. "He grew up in business, and he always planned on having his own."

When it came time to decide on a place to open their venture, the couple settled on Quincy. Although they had no family ties in Quincy, the Vordahls chose the small town since it was centrally located.

"Her parents are from Seattle, and mine are from Spokane," said Vaughn. "This was a good halfway point."

Bonita added that they also wanted to live in a small town so that they could still have enough time to dedicate to their kids and family life.

"We wanted to have a family, and have that schedule where we could close on Sunday," said Bonita.

Vaughn said that although there were opportunities to expand their business, they never wanted to.

"We chose to live in a small town to be involved with our family and the community, and you can't do that with multiple chains," he said.

While the Vordahls are happy the decision to close their business happened around the time they were thinking about retiring, they would have liked to close under different circumstances.

Vaughn said the economy, as well as the rise of major retailers, have affected small family businesses around the country.

"It would have been nice to continue on, but in today's market family department stores are a dinosaur," said Vaughn. "There are very few left."

He said it is hard to compete with internet retailers and big-box retailers, which is one of the reasons the couple decided it was time to close their doors.

"Times have changed," said Vaughn. "I enjoyed being a part of the community and filling a need in the community for so many years."

The Vordahls both said that they will miss interacting with their customers the most once they close their doors for good.

Vaughn said that building close-knit ties with customers was the most rewarding part of owning a small business.

"In Seattle, I never saw anyone I knew until I walked into work, or went home," he said. "Here I see people I know all day long and it's nice."

While the Vordahls are looking forward to retirement, the couple seems to have different ideas as to how they will be spending the next few years.

Vaughn said he plans on spending his days out on the green, since he has always been an avid golfer. However, Bonita said she wants to explore life outside Quincy.

"He's the one that has lots of hobbies," she joked. "I'm hoping to do a bit of traveling."

Bonita said she wants to make her way to Montana, to visit their daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids.

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