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Hillsboro Ben Franklin to close Oct. 15
Craft vendors will remain; clothing store may move in
hillsboro ben franklin
Bob and Deb Feala have announced the Oct. 15 closing of their Ben Franklin store on Water Ave. A storewide inventory clearance sale is in progress. - photo by Jack Knowles photo

Another Hillsboro retailing landmark is planning to close its doors.

Bob and Deb Feala have announced plans for the closing of their Ben Franklin store Oct. 15.

Until then a large, store-wide sale is being held with many items being available for 25% to 50% off the regular prices.

As of now, the Fealas also plan to keep renting the very popular section of the store that features the fine work of local crafters that has many customers looking for unusual, homemade gifts throughout the year.

The store has a long history of popularity in the Hillsboro area since it was first opened in 1939 by D. C. MacLaughlin, featuring a wide choice of variety items. In addition to MacLaughlin’s, the store has been known through the years as the Five and Ten Cents Store, the Variety Store, the Dime Store, and the Ben Franklin Store.

After being remodeled to a self-service operation in 1953, it was sold in 1959 to Mr. and Mrs. Norman Egstad, who celebrated a grand opening April 17-18.

Their grandson, Ryan Egstad, took over the business on Oct. 1, 1982.

The Ben Franklin was closed on Oct. 12, 1995 and was vacant for a short time.

Then, in 1996, the business was purchased by Robert Leuty of Lake Mills, who also owned several other stores.

The next owners were a small syndicate comprised of local business owners, including the Fealas, who understood the value of having a variety store to anchor the downtown shopping area of Hillsboro.

Eventually, Bob and Deb bought out their partners in 2005, and assumed operating the business on a day-to-day basis until now.

However, the long, interesting history of the big store may very well have another extension.

There are plans and negotiations being discussed that would bring the Wear House store across the street and into the larger building. That business features good condition used or over stocked clothing and many other items for sale.

Meanwhile, a storewide inventory clearance sale at the Ben Franklin store includes all fabric and sewing notions, science kits and kids craft kits, yarn and crochet threads, knitting and crochet needles, scrapbooking, beading, and general crafts, wedding, school and office supplies, all toys and floral, all holiday items, including Halloween, fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.

Also, 25% off all Melissa & Doug toys.