Corner on Main friends retiring, but business to go on
By KELTON BROOKS
By KELTON BROOKS
Two familiar downtown faces are closing up shop soon, but their overall business will continue to be a happening spot. Michelle Mayo and Kay Lee have been in business for 25 years together, 17 of them as co-owners of The Corner On Main.
Though the two are retiring as co-owners from the Corner on Main, the long-standing shop itself is not closing. The only part of the store that is closing is "From My House to Yours," the section that is owned by Mayo and Lee.
The two friends started their business together in 1989 with a seasonal Christmas shop, moving it to many different locations all around town. After six years of the seasonal store, which was open from September to January and previously stationed in a two-story house where the Pizza Hut on Kansas Avenue is located, the two finally set up shop at what was then Bernie Rose — a store that featured several different venues — and is now Alterations by Lori on Main Street.
From there, they moved to where State Farm Insurance is located, 224 Main St., which then became The Corner on Main, before they moved to the present 324 Main St. location.
"I knew we've been together for too long when customers come in asking us if we are sisters," Lee said as she laughed. Lee also explained their time as friends and co-workers through the years of raising their daughters together.
Throughout their time in several different businesses, both Lee and Mayo said it is the customers who have made their time worthwhile and memorable at the store.
"Being with the customers over the years, we have made some really good friendships with customers and appreciate support. Without them, we wouldn't be able to stay in business as long as we have," Lee said.
"After we have worked with the public for so long, I will miss the people who regularly come in. But I think I have plenty of things in my life to keep me busy," said Mayo as she laughed.
While both recalled the times of movement from store to store, there was one constant: their love for downtown Garden City.
"Downtown is where everything happens. It's a great place to be with activities always going on," Lee said. Both highlighted Fall Fest as their favorite event and mentioned the pleasure of enjoying Tuba Christmas, the Christmas Parade and Beef Empire Days.
"They have been a good team for as long as I can remember," said Nicole Lucas, executive director of Downtown Vision. "Michelle is just a good person and personal friend to me. I hate to see her go, but I hope she stays involved with downtown. She always has great ideas, is enthusiastic, lends a helping hand and is always there."
Mayo and Lee plan to spend time with family and catch up on activities they may not have had time to complete in the past during their retirement. Also, they are having a liquidation sale Saturday at the Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. where they will sell home decor, collegiate items and any remaining inventory.