Mar-Te Menswear closing up

After 12 years in business, Mar-Te Menswear is closing its doors—and the owners say out-shopping is one of the reasons they no longer can continue operating.
“With more and more families spending their clothing budget dollars in Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, and other places, the amount of clothing dollars being spent in Fort Frances is getting smaller and smaller,” owners Terry and Mary Martinson said in a press release.
“Combine that with a major new clothing store recently opening in town and the result is that we were simply not able to generate enough sales to cover the cost of keeping the menswear store open,” they added.
But the couple stressed their Mar-Te Ladieswear operation will remain open—and maybe even expand.
Terry Martinson noted sales in ladies’ fashions have remained constant while menswear sales have dropped.
Local residents travelling out-of-town to shop is nothing new to Fort Frances, but he said it has become more prevalent in recent years, especially for clothing.
“There’s way more out-shopping now than there was three or four years ago,” he noted this morning.
The menswear store is set to close by the end of February. And while disheartened, the Martinsons said they understand businesses can go under in small markets such as Fort Frances.
“Businesses start up and go down,” reasoned Mary Martinson. “We view this as our time to go down.”
Still, she said it’s hard to close their doors on loyal customers.
When the Martinsons started selling clothes from their garage in Devlin, neither expected they would end up owning and operating two retail stores in downtown Fort Frances.
“We had no real experience whatsoever, it just kept evolving,” Terry Martinson said.
“When Terry told me ‘Mary, I think you’d be good at retail, I laughed at him,’” recalled Mary Martinson, who was then a secretary.
Their business grew from the garage to a kiosk at the local farmers’ market. They opened a store 12 years ago and eventually expanded to owning and operating two stores on Scott street.
Mary Martinson said it was a hard decision to close one store after coming so far. “We’ve been in business for 25 years and it’s a sad way to end our business,” she said.
“We’re not going out bitter,” she added. “Business is business. We feel we fought a good battle and [that] it’s time.”
“There are only ‘x’ number of dollars available and only so many stories in a town this size,” echoed Terry Martinson. “This is no sob story, it’s business in a small town.”