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We'll miss it as much as everybody else

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Owner Wendy Byers organizes a product display Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, at The Mouse gift shop in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in Rochester. The store is having a retirement sale and will be closing when inventory runs out.

There were a lot of familiar faces, hugs and even a few tears Wednesday morning at The Mouse.

The gift and home-decor store announced its closure last week after 28 years in business at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center. The mother-daughter duo behind the store — Jeanne DeBruin and her daughter, Wendy Byers — say they've seen many changes through the years, and the store has kept up with them, but now, it's time for one of their own.

"It's really time for new beginnings for us," DeBruin said. "It's an ongoing discussion in our family just because of timing in life and things that are happening, and it was just a heart-to-heart really emotional conversation and decided it was really the right time."

With a retirement sale underway to get rid of the store's remaining merchandise, regular customers stopped by the store to get the bargains and visit with the owners one last time.

"It's going to be dearly missed," said Sam Konakowitz, a frequent customer. "I mean this is a go-to place, where if you needed something different for somebody special, you were probably going to find it here."


Melanie Martini, who has visited the shop for 15 years, said when she heard the news, she was shocked. She said she started looking around her own home and realized all the items she has purchased over the years.

"It's like a reflection of my home," Martini said.

The store has met changing tastes and decor fads over the years with changes in inventory, name changes and even a coffee shop for a time.

"We are very much not afraid of change," Byers said. "People's decor tastes have changed, and we've evolved with that over the years."

The stores has weathered the closure of the shopping center's "anchor store," Carson Pirie Scott, and a four-year U.S. Highway 52 construction project.

The shift to online shopping also has affected the store.

"It's not a great location for everyday foot traffic," Byers said. "But the conversation had been going on for years because retail has changed so much."

But the duo won't move far away.


DeBruin will devote her time to a recently found talent — painting. Her work, "Whispering Woods," paintings of trees and birds, will be featured a few steps away at Horizon Travel at Miracle Mile and other shops around town.

Byers will focus on a new career as real estate agent in Rochester with Edina Realty. She also will work with a friend at Urban Finds at the Medford Outlet Center. She said her experience "fluffing," or staging and keeping the store looking good, will lend itself to staging homes.

The two thanked all those in the community that have given them business over the years, and the friendships they have built through the store.

"We've been talking about it like a death in the family because it truly, it's hard," DeBruin said. "And we will miss it as much as everybody else."

Emily O'Rourke of Rochester looks at jewelry while shopping Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, at The Mouse gift shop in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in Rochester.

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