Landmark downtown retailer since 1950 nears closing time

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 07:57 PM

After 63 years in business, a Henderson landmark may soon shut its doors for good.

Interiors & Gifts, Too has served the community with bridal registries, custom home décor and unique gifts for 63 years, but declining sales since the recession could mean the end of an era for the downtown storefront.

“It’s been bad for years, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better,” said owner Letha Anderson, who has run the store for the past nine years.

Anderson moved to live near Kerr Lake in 2002 from Fairfax, Va., where she operated a flower shop for nine years.

When the previous owners, sisters Nancy Bobbitt and Jane Robertson, were planning to close Interiors in 2004, Anderson approached them and offered to buy the store.

“We thought things were beginning to slow down with the loss of businesses downtown,” Bobbitt said of her decision to sell Interiors.

Bobbitt and her sisters took over in 1987 when they purchased the place from the original owners, G.W. Knott and his wife Dorothy, who founded Interiors on Chestnut Street in 1950.

“We had always known him,” she said of Knott, “We went to see him one day and asked if he would be interested in selling.”

Bobbitt and her sisters offered bridal registry and handmade décor, like custom window treatments and bedspreads.

She said corporate business people in the former Roses headquarters downtown and workers with local manufacturing jobs used to frequent the store.

“It was a lot different back then,” she said. “People weren’t shopping as much on the Internet and relied more on local businesses.”

Bobbitt said Interiors lost those customers when the manufacturing jobs went away and Variety Wholesalers purchased Roses in 1997.

Anderson offers a different product mix than her predecessors, but the bridal registry and unique gifts have remained indispensable to loyal Interiors customers.

Anna Walker, a Henderson native, has shopped at Interiors for as long as she can remember.

She stopped in Friday to pick up an ornate pair of serving utensils for her daughter.

Mother and daughter, Jenny and Adrianna Evans, were shopping together Friday afternoon for Rainbow sandals, which are discounted 25 percent for Interiors’ going out of business sale.

Jenny Evans, a Henderson resident, said she is not a regular customer, but occasionally comes in for unique gifts or a bridal registry.

“I always like coming by around Christmas. They have a nice display of ornaments,” Evans said as waited at the checkout counter.

“They have a lot of neat stuff here, stuff you can’t find at Walmart or Target.”


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.