HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A cornerstone business in downtown Huntington will soon be bidding the city farewell.
After 67 years in the community, Mack & Dave’s owner David Cohen announced Tuesday he and his wife, Marilyn, would be retiring and closing up shop.
“It’s hard to say goodbye, but it’s time,” said Cohen, who is 92.
Cohen said the store will likely be open for a few months in an effort to sell most of its inventory. The building will be put up for sale.
While both Cohen and his wife say they are ready to enjoy a relaxing retirement, they are sad to say goodbye to their faithful employees and loyal customers.
“Huntington has been very good to us,” Marilyn Cohen said. “We’ve had loyal customers that have spanned several generations because of our service and our interest in them.”
For those who have been there since the beginning, Marilyn Cohen said they are less like customers and employees and more like family.
A longtime employee known to customers as Edie, who has worked at Mack & Dave’s for 35 years, said she will miss the camaraderie shared by the staff the most.
“I never thought I would be here for so long, but now it’s hard to imagine leaving,” she said.
Longtime customer Rusty Nida said it is the atmosphere he loves most.
“I hate to see them leave,” he said. “They were always warm and welcoming.”
Bill Bissett, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the store’s departure will leave a significant gap because of its location in the heart of Huntington, adjacent to Pullman Square.
“Mack & Dave’s has a long history of success in Huntington,” he said. “I can remember, growing up here, that was the place you went to get everything from sheet music to photography equipment. If you were downtown shopping, you went by Mack & Dave’s.”
Bissett said it will take time to find the right occupant, but the location has a great deal of potential.
“It’s a prime location as far as retail goes,” he said. “It has great access to a parking garage, it’s relatively close to interstate traffic, and the proximity to the river is also a plus.”
“The owners have been very supportive not only of the Chamber but are also well known for their altruism in the community,” he said. “When new people come here and do business, it means a lot when they are plugged into not only the business community but the entire community, and Mack & Dave’s has a long legacy of doing that.”
To whichever business does follow, new or old, Marilyn Cohen imparts two pieces of advice: “Know that the customer is always right and to stand behind your products,” she said. “That’s the best you can do.”
Mack & Dave’s has been a fixture in Huntington since David Cohen co-founded the business with his friend Mack Webb in 1949.
The store started as a small pawn shop at the corner of 9th Street and 3rd Avenue, where Five Guys sits today.
It moved to its current address of 1010 3rd Ave. in 1974 as part of the urban renewal project that eventually would become Pullman Square.
Today, Mack & Dave’s is a 99,000-square-foot department store that is 75 percent new merchandise and 25 percent pre-owned.