For many of her customers and friends it is the end of an era in shopping for women?s clothing, but while Nancy Klaassen?s decision to retire is bittersweet, a lot of people volunteered pleasant testimonials about her.
Marci Penner, executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, said she was sorry to hear the news about the store, but is happy for Klaassen.
?There are few clothing stores in rural communities that have stood the test of time like Nancy?s Fashions,? Penner said. ?It?s not easy anymore to keep clothing stores open in small towns, and she deserves a huge hooray,?
The women of the Steinert family, although living elsewhere, couldn?t help but talk about Klaassen and her ?wonderful store,? said Jan Steinert of Andover.
?We loved shopping at Nancy?s over the years,? she said. ?Even after our mom, Agnes Steinert, moved from Hillsboro, we found ways to ?need? to run through town so we could stop in and see what Nancy had available for us.?
Steinert said she also is representing the views of her two sister-in-laws, Debbie Beard of Denver, Colo., and Vickie Beck of Whitewater.
?It wasn?t just the great clothing, accessories and jewelry Nancy had available, but it was Nancy herself that made the trip worth it,? she said.
Steinert said Klaassen demonstrated the rare skill in today?s world of providing ?excellent customer service? every day.
?We could shop at much larger stores, in larger cities, but Nancy?s was where we wanted to go,? she said. ?As much as we all loved shopping there, no one loved it more than Agnes.
?Nancy was such a dear friend to her over the years and always had extra time to help her find the right color, the right size, the right everything,? Steinert said.
Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke said her husband will miss Klaassen?s store the most.
?For Christmas, birthdays, (or other occasions), I would go into the store and pick out things that I liked and she always kept lists,? she said. ?Then my husband would go in and say, ?Yes, I will get her that.?
?Nancy would wrap it, he would put it under the tree, and everyone at my house would say what a wonderful, thoughtful husband I had. Maybe that says I will miss her.?
Steinert said she will miss those ?wonderful shopping adventures,? but will always have warm memories.
?Like of all of us trying on way more things than we needed, and poor Randy sitting in the chair by the door trying to come up with reasons to go check out other places in town for awhile,? she said about her husband.
Betty Mueller of Tampa said she has shopped at Nancy?s since it opened for business.
?Nancy always greeted me with a smile, and ?How are you?? Mueller said. ?She knew her customers, knew what they liked and what would look good on them and was ready to suggest if asked.?
She said Klaassen had nice articles of clothing and she rarely, if ever, left without a couple of items.
?Nancy carried a very good line of merchandise for women of all ages to satisfy our tastes,? Mueller said. ?Service like that does not exist at the malls or other stores.?
Pam Byer of Marion said she wanted Klaassen to know how much she appreciated her.
?She had a quality ladies? clothing store for us to shop at,? Byer said. ?I don?t like to drive a long way to shop and I would always stop in to see what was available?especially her sales. A lot of my wardrobe comes from Nancy?s.?
Natalie Hoffman of Marion said she liked the personal service Klaassen provided by hand-picking clothes and accessories for special occasions.
?It meant a lot to me to have her help when I couldn?t decide what to buy,? Hoffman said. ?Nancy will be truly missed, but I wish her well in retirement.?
Kris Srajer of Tampa said she would go to Nancy?s whenever she came to visit.
?We were sad to hear that Nancy?s is closing because we have made trips to Nancy?s, which was a tradition for years,? she said.
Srajer said they loved the personal attention they received at the store and Klaassen?s genuine care for her customers.
?Nancy?s has been a fun, hassle-free place to shop, and she did a great job with her shop because she treated each of her customers as though they were her friends.?
Rebecca Tibbetts of Hillsboro said lunch time just won?t be the same when Nancy?s store closes.
?I?ve been buying clothes and jewelry for years and have enjoyed Nancy?s cheerful demeanor and will miss stopping by on my lunch to shop,? she said.
?Hillsboro will miss this downtown convenience, and I hope someone will step up and attempt to fill her retail shoes.?
Linda Ogden of Marion said: ?Nancy is a wonderful, smart woman who truly understands customer service. She has a great instinct for running a successful small-town business. Her store will surely be missed, but I wish her happiness in this next life chapter.?
From an economic development viewpoint, Clint Seibel, former economic development director for Hillsboro, said Klaassen?s contribu?tion to the business climate has been invaluable.
?Nancy?s Fashions not only served people in this area, but many out-of-town customers would regularly drive in to shop at Nancy?s,? he said. ?This benefitted other businesses in town as they would shop there as well.?
Seibel said Klaassen was a prime example of building her business on customer service.
?The local business community as well as Nancy?s loyal customers will miss not having such a valued business located on Main Street,? Seibel said.
Cynthia Fleming, Hillsboro, said she knows many customers who came to town to shop at Nancy?s and visited other stores while they were in town.
?I will miss having the opportunity to shop in Nancy?s and keep business in town,? Fleming added. ?Nancy’s has always carried quality clothing and accessories.
Fleming said she wanted to thank the rest of Klaassen?s sales staff who were ?wonderful? at helping put items together for the perfect outfit.
The mission of the Kansas Sampler Foundation is to help preserve and sustain rural culture, according to Penner.
?As we researched the state for our next guidebook, we always thought a town was lucky if it had a women?s clothing store the caliber of Nancy?s,? she said.
Penner said what would have made the story of Nancy?s Fashions complete was to have someone to take over. Even so, she has always been impressed with the inventory and friendly service at the store.
?I celebrate Nancy for providing such a great business for Hillsboro,? Penner said.