The owners of Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gift Store in downtown Sioux Falls have decided to close shop and retire.
Dick and Sandy Murphy first opened the store 26 years ago, and now they’re ready for a new chapter in life.
The couple is holding a 40% retirement sale, which started June 10. Already they’ve sold at least 85% of their merchandise during the last five days.
“I see myself on the couch next week,” Sandy Murphy said with a laugh.
She said they had their “best day ever” at the start of the sale. There’s been a steady stream of customers coming in to say hi, wish them well and buy gifts before they run out.
“If I had to do it over again, I’d have a blow out sale every once in a while, as sort of a thank you to the customers,” Sandy Murphy said.
Rae Morlan, a longtime customer, started coming to Mrs. Murphy’s when it opened. She said she’ll miss seeing the Murphys the most, adding the couple always put clients first and focused on building relationships with personal touches, like when Sandy Murphy would say things like, “I have the perfect sweater for you.”
“They have been friends of ours from the beginning,” Morlan said. “And they’re always so welcome and are such a big part of downtown Sioux Falls. Coming to their store is like coming home.”
The sentiment has been felt on both sides.
“The sale has really been a nonstop celebration of our retirement with a lot of people coming in,” Dick Murphy said. “It’s good to visit with people who have been our customers for all these years, and we thank them for being our friends for that time as well.”
Couple looking forward to retirement
Sandy Murphy said they could have retired a long time ago, as she and her husband are in their mid-70s.
“We only had us two and a part-time person working a couple days a week,” she said. “It was getting exhausting at our age.”
They couple tried to sell the business, but it didn’t work out. With their lease on the building up at the end of June, they decided it would be best just to close.
“I still think an Irish gift store would be good here,” Sandy Murphy said. “I think one of the reasons it didn’t sell is because Dick is so much this business. It’s his, you know? I think with a fresh name, a fresh start… a new chapter could be written.”
Dick Murphy said they’ve had fun times with the store, but some of his favorite memories were of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, seeing everyone buy Irish merchandise and wearing green as a sign of the coming spring and adding to the vibrancy of downtown.
The Murphys still plan to be involved with the parade and continue connecting with other Irish clans in the area.
“It’s a family tradition we won’t give up,” Dick Murphy said.
In the meantime, the couple will spend time with their grandchildren and take trips to England to see Sandy Murphy’s family without having to worry about rushing back to the store.
“We’re glad people came out to say goodbye, glad to have been part of the downtown community. And now we’re ready for the next phase of our lives,” Dick Murphy said. “And like I always say, ‘Llife is a series of new beginnings.’”
At least while supplies last, Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gifts is still open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday until the end of June.