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The Classic is closing after nearly five decades in Moorhead's Center Mall

Owner Corinne Stefanson says she loves her customers and the bustle of retail, but it is time to retire.

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Corinne Stefanson is calling it a career after owning and operating The Classic at the Moorhead Center Mall for over four decades. David Samson / The Forum
Forum Communications Co.

MOORHEAD — A Center Mall classic is calling it a career.

Corinne Stefanson, the owner of The Classic, has started her retirement sale.

After 47 years in retail, it’s time to leave, she said Friday, Nov. 19.

“I love my work, but …. I’ve been putting it off two or three years. I really didn’t wish to quit,” she said. “But I think it’s a good decision for my family and myself.”

Stefanson has stocked The Classic like a “small department store.” Sure, there are lots of women’s clothes, accessories, perfume and jewelry, but there’s also some tasty candy, gift items, and even some menswear, such as sweaters, she said.

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Stefanson has spent much of her life in Moorhead. She studied accounting and teaching in college, and even taught elementary school here for a time. Though she also spent a few years away from the area, living in several cities around the U.S. while her husband worked for the FBI.

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Stefanson said she was part of the ownership group, but not working in the store, when The Classic opened in 1973. It was among the first stores in the newly completed mall. About a year later, she bought out the other four owners and devoted herself to running the store.
She hasn’t regretted it.

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The Classic is closing in the Moorhead Center Mall after 48 years in business. David Samson / The Forum
Forum Communications Co.

She loves interacting with customers and “all the challenges of working,” she said.

“I’m one of those people that absolutely can’t think of a day that I didn’t enjoy retail. I love my work,” Stefanson said.

She’ll miss traveling to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles five times a year to buy stock for her store, too. She’s connected with a lot of people, and the cities themselves, over the years, she said.

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Retail has changed over the decades, and the internet has squeezed her shop just like other businesses. But a far-flung customer base, including the Twin Cities, and shopping by mail has kept the store competitive.

She has also decided not to sell the store to anyone else.

She said closing the store will be a big project, requiring a lot of energy, and hopes to liquidate her inventory in three months, though it could take longer.

Retiring probably won’t include a lot of sitting around. She’s thought of volunteering, perhaps teaching immigrants or reading, and she intends to explore areas other than retail.

It is time to move on, she said.

“The community has been really good to me and I love all my work and I love all the challenges,” Stefanson said. “I’ve been lucky.”

Related Topics: RETAILMOORHEAD
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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