Grass Valley Mayor Closing Her Store after Decades in Business

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GRASS VALLEY -- It’s been a good 30-year run but the Mill Street Clothing Co. will be shutting its doors for good after owner Lisa Swarthout decided this spring to retire.

Swarthout is a Grass Valley-native who returned to her hometown after starting a retail career in San Francisco. She based her clothing stock based on what she saw women in Grass Valley were wearing and attributes that to the store’s success over three decades.

“We used to joke around and say we’re the number one tourist destination in the nation for the women-over-50 crowd and we’ve always owned that and loved it,” Swarthout said.

There was a steady stream of customers in the store on Wednesday expressing their sadness that the store was closing.

Swarthout is also the mayor of Grass Valley and has served on the city council for 15 years.

A community events calendar covers one wall in the store. It is the drop-off point for the Nevada County Cinderella Project, which provides used prom dresses to area girls and also hosts a fundraiser for the project.

“It’s going to be a big loss in many, many ways for the community,” said Sarah Gordon, an organizer who was one of the well-wishers who came to the store.

But she said she is gratified that Lisa says she will now have more time to volunteer for the project as well as the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

“We told her she might regret saying she has more time for us,” joked Jason Patton of the Center for the Arts.

For now, Swarthout said she looks forward to not spending Christmas Eve in a store for the first time in 40 years.

“The last few days have been hard because so many people have been so sad and I’m really going to miss my customers, but I’m around town and people know where to find me,” Swarthout said.

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