GREENVILLE — It seems that men rarely buy business suits anymore.
That, plus other economic factors lead to the closing of Ed Cornell’s menswear store, in 1996. The third-generation store served Greenville, Ohio for 97 years. Many Black Friday shoppers head to the malls and outlets for their bargain hunts, but for Ohio sisters Patty Lear, Cathy Cornell, Eileen Schulze, of Greenville; and Molly Logan, of Columbus, it is personal. Cathy is Ed Cornell’s wife.
“We have a personal stake in seeing the town do well,” Cathy said. “We want the town to thrive and to get the people to move here. That’s why we don’t hop in the car and drive to Dayton, Columbus, or Cincinnati. You can see, we have very few empty stores.”
To begin their 16th annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza, Cathy and her sisters met at The Coffee Pot on S. Broadway, in Greenville. Many friends came up to greet them with hugs and smiles.
“People are always visiting for Thanksgiving weekend we haven’t seen in awhile,” Lear said.
“We meander, we talk and we see people,” Schulze said. “We eat, drink and go in almost every store. We have just as much here, without driving an hour and finding a place to park.”
According to Logan, her local gift exchange members always want her gifts.
“They know it comes from here,” she said. “The gifts in these stores are high-quality and unique.”
Revitalizing downtown Greenville is also important to the younger generation. The Coffee Pot owners Rob Garrett and his wife Amber grew up in the town, at a time when it was still the center. Their shop is located in the historic Palace building.
“Downtown is really important to us,” he said. “As we grew, the focus moved outward.”
Being natives, the Garretts wanted to see the focus back on downtown, which was the reason they opened there shop, in Greenville. The results have been positive.
“Over the last five years, we have seen the downtown community grow again. People are returning and new people are always amazed at our downtown — I hear that often. Those are the compliments that really matter. People grew up here, but when you hear it from new people stopping by, that really puts things into perspective.”