LIMA — One of Lima’s unique shopping stores is closing after more than 25 years in business.
Just Ducky’s Gourmet Coffees, Foods & Unique Gifts, located at 1199 E. Kibby St., is closing its doors permanently Wednesday.
Ducky Allen and her husband, Dick Allen, opened the store in 1992. Before that, Ducky Allen had owned a wholesale flower shop.
Just Ducky’s featured unique gifts and items.
“I went to Chicago, New York and Atlanta and did buying trips,” Allen said. “I would go to food shows and go to market two times a year. The business just started to grow and it kept getting bigger.”
Just Ducky’s carried gourmet coffee beans and coffee cakes and chocolates and all kinds of edible foods. However, it wasn’t just edible foods that stocked her store.
“I carried gift-ware, I carried crystal and I had a designer, we did floral arrangements. At one time we would go out to people’s homes and help decorate and just do special orders for people. I do a lot of corporate work for companies during the holidays, that’s when my busy time is,” Allen said.
The beginning of the end occurred for Just Ducky’s in 2015 when the city of Lima closed Kibby Street and Dana Avenue for repairs. Just Ducky’s business suffered tremendously because of these road closures.
“It really did destroy my business. It truly did,” Allen said. “That one year I did nothing. I literally didn’t turn the cash register on except maybe one day a week. People couldn’t get to me, even coffee people. They had to maneuver themselves around because the sign said closed on Dana, and Kibby was closed so people wouldn’t come from the east or west because they weren’t going to fight all of that traffic and then they didn’t know how to get here.”
The Allens persevered through that year mainly through Ducky’s work for corporate accounts for the holiday season.
Another factor for closing is the advancement of technology and internet buying. The smaller retail stores are hurting.
“You know online buying has taken over our country and Amazon and the young people today don’t care if they don’t see it before they buy it. People my age, they like to look at things and pick it up. It’s not the time we’re in right now. I just want to display and have people come in. I always took pride in wrapping and boxing and those were the amenities that you got here,” Allen said. “At the age we are, we just felt it was time. And it’s been a couple rough years but we decided this was the time to get out.”
Allen cites the closing of other stores such as The Oak and Barn, DeHaven’s and Artistic Creations.
“They’re gone. When you think about it, we’re just an end of an era. I felt as though my prices were right and I always boxed, I always wrapped and tissued and gave nice bags because I felt I was giving back, and I just felt that was the amenities you got when you shopped here. I flatly refused to lower my standards to get more traffic in here. I would not do it,” Allen said.
Allen is planning to continue her corporate work and will still order the gourmet coffee for her coffee clients.
“I’m going to start out slow because I don’t know how it’s going to work, but my hope is to continue with it on a small basis. Just to supply my people with the coffee cakes, the coffee and the chocolates during the holidays. That’s the busy time. Then I sell coffee to regulars that come in every two weeks, so those are the ones that I’m concerned about and I’m going to try to make sure that they are taken care of. They will call me when they want it,” Allen said.
The Allen’s have leased a large portion of their building to another company, but Ducky kept a small area for herself.
“It was just like a miracle, they came in and they want to lease it. I kept my corner,” Allen said.
Allen has no plans on operating a store daily. The clients that need coffee know her and know how to get in touch with her to get their coffee.
“It’s been a wonderful ride, I will tell you. I am going to miss the people. I have made a lot of good friends. It’s been wonderful,” Allen said.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.