Harrell’s Department Store in Burgaw to close after 117 years

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — After more than a century in business, Harrell’s Department Store is closing its doors for good.

This business has been a staple of the community for more than a century, selling clothes.

“It’s going to be missed. I’m very very sad. I really feel sad when I think about Harrell’s Department Store not being here,” Customer Nancy Rivenbark said.

She has been a regular for years. Rivenbark said this place exemplifies Burgaw.

“It’s part of everything that happens. Our Spring Fest, our Blueberry Festival, and other things. These people are so creative, they come up with things themselves,” Rivenbark expressed.

Harrell’s has been around since 1903, but Owner Vernon Harrell said recent changes in retail and now COVID-19 has forced him to make the difficult decision.

“It’s been a well-known fact for a number of years that there’s too much retail space in this country,” Harrell explained. “So that’s a part of it, but then when the COVID-19 hit, literally the business was closed, and that’s what threw us into a tailspin.”

Harrell said he may try to get creative with the building space in the future, and will still sell and repair appliances, for now anyway.

“Although there again, appliance sales have dropped way off because I’m competing with the huge box stores, so I have difficulty buying the appliances for what they can sell them for, and that has taken away part of our profit margins,” Harrell said.

But even after the doors close next month, Harrell’s will be remembered as an iconic piece of Burgaw, and as the backdrop for movies like, I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Harrell said the store is expected to close next month, and there will be more discounts.

Categories: Community, Local, Pender

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