Changing tastes doom McKinney shop after 23 years

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 10:57 PM

McKINNEY — Jenny Lynn's was one of the first full retail stores on the square in downtown McKinney.

While scores of neighboring businesses failed, Jenny Lynn’s thrived.

Karen Hoffman moved her fabric and home decoration store from Dallas to McKinney 23 years ago. In that time, she says she saw hundreds of stores opened, only to go out of business.

But her sales kept growing, year after year. "You reinvent, because people aren't going to accommodate you," Hoffman said. "You accommodate them."

But when the recession came a few years ago, her customers — who are typically older — were hit hard financially.

That affected her business.

"A lot of them lost a lot of money in '08," Hoffman said. "Wall Street just went 'poof' with their money, never to be seen again."

Hoffman said she started seeing a new type of shopper on the square — younger people who traditionally don't buy long-lasting items like the fabrics or home decorations in her inventory.

"I see the customers come in now, and their values for trendy and more fashionable isn't where I am, and I know my limitations," she said.

There are 24 restaurants and bars on the McKinney town square. That means less retail space.

"Our daytime traffic has been cut in half because there's not enough places for them to shop, and they can't make a day of it," Hoffman said. "And that's what they used to do."

Jenny Lynn's owner intends on closing the doors by the first of the year. She owns the building and wants to lease it out.

As for the customers who kept her in business for so long, they're upset... but wishing Hoffman well.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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