One of the oldest retail stores in Klamath Falls is closing its doors.

The owner of Lucas & Howard Furniture on South Sixth Street has elected to shut down after 92 years in the business community.

“There is some sadness to the closure, but things change,” said the store’s owner, Paul Bigby. “We’ve been really blessed and I have no regrets.”

While the stagnant local economy was a factor in the closure — sales at the store have been lagging since 2008 — the decision to close the location was not strictly based on finances, Bigby said.

Bigby’s mother, JoAn Bigby, who was the driving force behind the store since she started there 30 years ago, recently developed a life-threatening health issue.

Change of focus

JoAn is on the mend, but still unable to work, so Paul took the opportunity to close the business to concentrate on his other, more lucrative endeavors.

“We felt it was in the best interest of the family to close,” Bigby said. “My mother being gone left a void I didn’t want to fill.”

Bigby stressed that the economy was not the only factor in the decision, and that, absent of his mother’s health issues, the store would likely remain open.

But with his children now out of the house and his mother unable to work, Bigby felt it was time to prioritize his efforts toward his other businesses that have an opportunity to grow.

“Once you hit bottom and you know where that’s at, you can cope with that,” Bigby said. “We could have gone on indefinitely. Now we can close on our own terms and focus on our businesses that are doing well.”

Bigby was able to keep three employees from Lucas & Howard, but had to eliminate four jobs due to the closure of the location.

There is no set date for the closure. The store still has a fair amount of inventory to move, Bigby said.

“Without the health issues, it would be business as usual,” Paul said. “But things in life do change.”