After 58 years, Pearson’s, a little flag store in Stanton will close for good this weekend.
Owner Nancy Pearson said Saturday will be bittersweet, but that now is the right time to say goodbye.
“I’ve been here 58 years and I just, it’s just starting to get to me,” Pearson said. “If I was 10 years younger, I wouldn’t be closing that’s for sure.”
The 82-year-old runs the store alongside her 52-year-old daughter Vicki Pearson, whom she described as her “right arm.”
Vicki who knows the business inside and out considered taking over the business when her mom considered hiring someone to take her place.
“We had talked about doing that, but I don’t want to be here without her,” said Vicki, who’s looking forward to putting her college and Master’s degrees in business to work outside of Pearson’s.
Five couples, meantime, have come forward interested in buying the business, but Pearson said all of them, despite having good credit, were turned down for loans.
“The banks just don’t want to take any chances with small business,” she said. “And the banks will not take property as collateral anymore.”
Business is better than ever at Pearson’s. It’s so good that Pearson said any flag you see in Delaware probably came from her family owned and operated store.
Her clients include all of the schools in Delaware, all of the fire companies, New Castle County government, the city of Wilmington as well as private companies, like AstraZeneca, that order customized flags.
Come Saturday at 4 p.m. all of Pearson’s clients will have to get their flags elsewhere.
“We’re trying to give them information about a company in Virginia that deals with the same manufacturer that we do,” said Pearson who hates the idea of leaving her customers in the lurch.
Everything in the store is discounted 25 to 50 percent off. And while business has remained steady in these last days, regular customers now wish Pearson well in her retirement as they walk out the door for the last time.
Pearson and her now late husband bought the business from her father when it was a grocery store in 1956. The couple opened up a hardware store before switching to flags in 1990.
Business, she said, spiked immediately after 9/11.
“We just didn’t have enough inventory for people and we had people lined up on the bridge out there trying to get in. And when they would see the UPS driver stop, oh my god, they would just practically knock the door down,” Pearson said.
Ever since opening, the store has been Pearson’s life, but now she’s ready for something else.
“Oh I have a bucket list a mile long. I have so many things that I haven’t had time to do and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” like traveling and spending more time with family out of state.
Sick of Delaware’s harsh winters, the octogenarian and Delaware native is also considering retiring to Florida.
While a qualified buyer hasn’t stepped up yet, Pearson said if someone comes around even after closing time on Saturday, she still consider selling the business.