Skaneateles: McLaughlin's out, not down

Independent department store group closing in Skaneateles only

The tried and true McLaughlin Department Store that has served the community for more than 30 years is pulling out of Skaneateles.

"It is with deep regret that McLaughlin's Department Store will not be renewing its lease for its 11 Fennel Street location for next year," Store president Scott McLaughlin said. "Our company's lease for that location will expire in March of 2007."

Business has changed in retail clothing from small family owned department stores, such as McLaughlin's being the norm, to becoming a minority in the industry. The McLaughlin's have been changing their style of operating with the times.

"We have adapted to this by offering brands and goods not easily available to mass market merchants and always keeping an eye out for quality merchandise. We also offer unique customer service options like free gift-wrapping, special order services, layaways and tuxedo rentals in some locations," McLaughlin said.

Some Skaneateles residents and visitor may not realize that McLaughlin's has three other locations including two in Oneonta and one in Norwich.

"Unfortunately, the Skaneateles location is not increasing sales at a rate that will guarantee future stability for company growth," McLaughlin said. "We are looking to concentrate business into an area more central to our main location in Norwich with a focus in Chenango and Otsego County, and plans to improve upon business in those locations."

McLaughlin's has been in businesses since founder Spencer McLaughlin began the business in Waterville in 1955. What started out as a small five and dime store eventually grew into several family operated stores throughout the upstate area. Now, one of only a handful of family run businesses in Upstate, it is ran by Spencer's son Scott McLaughlin.

McLaughlin's opened in Skaneateles on the Northeast corner of Jordan and Genesee Streets in the early 1970s. The business relocated to Fennell Street in the late 1980s to a building owned by Robert Hood of Cazenovia. He also owns the Teasel Barn that was run by a Skaneateles McLaughlin Family just due north of the McLaughlin Store alongside the creek. There is not relation between the two McLaughlin families.

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