SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Since 1954, Kings Gifts has been a Shreveport staple. But, this family-owned business - with a quintessential small-town charm - is closing for good. Yes, Kings closes at the end of the year.
For Elizabeth and Nick McElhatten, the store’s owners for nearly a decade, this decision is one that did not come easy.
“It’s a sign of the times,” said Elizabeth.
“It’s a day I never thought would be here,” Nick stated, sitting beside his wife in their Line Avenue business.
For those who don’t know, Kings sells specialty gifts. Ranging from fine dinnerware to local coffee, to anything LSU, you’re never at a loss for a heartfelt and thoughtful gift. But, up until March 2018, the store also sold hardware.
“It was just a falling pattern," said the McElhattens. “From the day we bought the store, year-over-year, we just saw that side ticking away.”
The couple says ever-shifting consumer trends and the continued growth of 'big box’ stores made it challenging to compete financially.
“You’re definitely to a point a victim of your own circumstances,” Nick said. “The internet has expanded retail beyond the boundaries of where you live.”
Financial struggles aside, Kings served as a home away from home for the McElhattens and their young family.
“We brought our kids up here, we had a baby bed in the back,” said Liz, with a large smile on her face. “Truly for the last nine and a half years, we raised our kids here.”
Nick joked, “...if we could just add to the top, we’d live here.”
The store has taken a very personal toll on the growing family - especially around the holidays.
“There’s a lot of long hours and even when you leave here, you’re still working,” said Elizabeth.
“You don’t get years back, so we could pour everything we have into this, make it work, but we would miss the next ten years of our kids’ lives,” Nick explained.
Kings will stay stocked through the busy holiday season for shoppers; Santa will even be in for pictures.
But, come 2020, the new year is the beginning of an unwritten, exciting chapter for the McElhattens.
“King Hardware is a piece of history,” said Elizabeth. “Thank you for shopping local, Shreveport.”
Visit Kings’ Facebook page here.