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The Collection Fine Gifts closing next year

GROVES — After nearly 16 years in business in Groves, the owner of The Collection Fine Gifts had decided to “retire from retail.”

Owner Paige Hervey says she will close her two shops, one at 4300 Lincoln Ave. in Groves and a newer store at 4036 Dowlen Road in Beaumont, by March of next year.

“We have just come to a different stage in our lives after being here for so long,” Hervey said. “We raised a business and we also raised kids. We’ll have an empty nest soon. We don’t really know what the future holds yet, but lots of changes have happened — elderly parents, empty nests and job changes for my husband. It’s just time to start a new chapter.”

Hervey opened The Collection in 2004, saying her loyal customers and the support of the Groves community kept her business open through the years. She’s worked hard to provide the kind of customer service that keeps her customers loyal, and she thinks now of many of those customers as family.

“Sometimes it’s like a family reunion in here,” she said. “We’ve watched their kids grow up. We have one customer that started 15 years ago, their little girl was only so big and now she just graduated with a master’s degree from Lamar and she’s shopping here on her own.”

“We’re from Groves and went to school in Groves,” said Amy Boneau, store manager and Hervey’s older sister. “A lot of friends move back here, and they come here and shop here and it’s like a little high school reunion.”

Boneau retired from teaching three years ago to work full time at the shop after working part time on weekends, holidays and special occasions.

“It’s odd working for your little sister,” Boneau said. “It’s been a great experience. The Groves community has really supported us. After Harvey, that’s been really difficult, but the community is very supportive and very loyal.”

Boneau says The Collection has collected quite a few loyal customers from all over the Golden Triangle, some that make the trip to Groves just to come to the store.

“We had a group of four ladies this weekend that drove from Kingwood just to come here only,” she said. “Two had moved there from here as friends and made friends with two other ladies through church. They’d seen us through Facebook because of them, so they all made a trip to come shop here Saturday.”

Through the years the service and customer loyalty stayed the same, though the inventory and styles have gone through several changes.

The store began with selling gifts and home and kitchen décor, but moved into selling jewelry after Boneau found a line of jewelry in Galveston she loved. Now jewelry makes up more than half of The Collection’s sales.

But times change, and so do tastes.

“People used to buy crystal for wedding gifts and that’s not something people buy anymore,” Hervey said. “Now, it’s usually casual kitchen decor instead that people buy, especially young people. They don’t care about a crystal candy dish or a crystal cake dish.

“We’ve definitely changed with the times and changed what we offer. We’ve gone where our customers have taken us and what they’ve asked for.”

The other tenants of the building that Hervey owns, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios, Bella Boutique and Sunset Travel Deals, will remain in the building. Hervey hopes to find a tenant to take the place of The Collection by the close-out sale after the first of the year.

In the mean time, prices are 30 percent off through October, 40 percent off through November and 50 percent off through December.

“I would encourage everyone to support their local businesses; if there’s a business that they like or if it’s new, shop with them, eat with them, do business with them, because that’s what keeps small businesses open,” Hervey said. “Loyal customers are super important.

“Three hurricanes, two floods and we still hung in there. We can’t thank them enough for supporting us through the years. We love them and we’re going to miss seeing everyone.”