March 24 • 06:21 AM

Steppin' out

Bee Gee's owner to close store, retire after 44 years in Imlay City

Bee Gee's owner Carol Gould celebrates her pending retirement and the sale of her building in downtown Imlay City.

March 07, 2018
IMLAY CITY — For 44 years, business owner Carol Gould has kept in step with her customers at Bee Gee's Family Shoes.

Gould purchased the building at 147 N. Almont Ave. from Bobby and George Gill in 1973, who had operated a business at the site for about a year.

Now 76, she said she had been trying to sell the building for the past two years.

On March 1, a local realtor sold the property, leaving Gould 45 days to close out her inventory and leave the premises.

Known for high quality shoes and boots, Bee Gee's featured name brands like Red Wings, Richland HH, LaCrosse, New Balance, Easy Street, Nunn Bush, Sorel and Irish Setter.

Gould is convinced it has been the quality and quantity of her products that kept area men, women and children coming into her store.

"For people who want the best, I've always handled quality products," says Gould. "By selling only quality, I've developed a large and loyal customer base.

"People who have bought items in the past keep coming back," she says. "I have people coming in here now that I remember when they were little children."

Gould says the continuum of offering quality products and service have served her well over the years.

Born and raised in Attica and a 1959 graduate of Imlay City High School, she has seen countless downtown businesses come and go.

"I remember when the DeLuxe Theater was still downtown and Dwayne Hill had his barbershop across the street," Gould recalls. "There's been a lot of change down here, but I stuck it out."

By early April, however, Gould will have to bid adieu to the building and business that have been her second home.

While she's looking forward to retiring, she admits the transition will be bittersweet.

"It's going to be sad to leave here after all these years," says Gould. "But I'm tired. I've been working six days a week for a long time. It's time.

"I'm going to miss my customers a lot," she says. "They've always been loyal to me. That part of it is not going to be easy.

"I also want to thank Val Rankin and all of the employees who worked for me," she says. "I could not have done this without their help and support."

Closeout sale ongoing

With time winding down at the downtown location, Gould is anxious to sell the remainder of her inventory.

"Right now just about everything is going for 50% off the regular price," she says. "I've been getting a lot of people coming in to take advantage of the low prices."

In the coming weeks, Gould intends to close earlier and spend fewer hours at the store.

Because of her reduced hours and availability, she suggests that interested customers call the store in advance at 810-724-3435.

Urgent care coming

Patty Clendenan, an agent for Realty Executives, said a local medical practitioner has purchased the property with plans to open an urgent care facility.

The new business will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The facility will offer a broad spectrum of medical care for children, adults and seniors.

Clendenan said that pending delays, the new owner hopes to open for business in two or three months.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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