Shoppers could see a big change in their small town soon. Two stores in a Harlan shopping center are closing their doors soon. For one, it's been a part of the community for more than 50 years.
Both the Dawahare's and the Belk stores in Harlan will be closing their doors. This does not just affect residents shopping options, but the city's economy as well.
The Village Center Shopping Mall in Harlan will soon have two empty stores as officials from Dawahares and Belk have decided to close their Harlan locations.
"The employees are good, they're good to you, and I'll just miss it when they close," said customer Homer Scott.
Belk has been serving Harlan for more than 50 years. No one from the store was available to talk on camera, but they did tell WYMT they are meeting with employees to discuss severance, benefits, and possible transfers to other stores.
"Dawahare's has sent several things saying they are very sorry, that they have done everything they could to try to keep it open," said Harlan Dawahares Supervisor Amanda Miles.
Dawahares has been open in Harlan since March of 2005, but after a little more than a year, 8 people will be soon be unemployed.
"Our closest store is Middlesboro and it’s so far away that most of our employees will not be able to transfer there," Miles said.
But the Harlan Chamber of Commerce has a positive attitude about the upcoming closings.
"You hate to lose a business but like I said, I have confidence in this community that they'll find another tenant," said Roger Fannin with the Harlan Chamber of Commerce.
Fannin says it is still too early to know who may move into the locations, but he says the chamber, as well as the owners of the shopping center feel they will be able to fill the open spots.
The Harlan Dawahare's is scheduled to close their doors for good on October 14th and the Harlan Belk will close in January of 2007.