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Smulekoffs Officially Gone for Good

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – The clock is ticking for people in the corridor to say goodbye to one of the oldest businesses in town. We now know that goodbye will be for good.

Yesterday, it was announced that Smulekoff’s agreed to sell its building and land to the city of Cedar Rapids as part of the federal flood buyout program.

Tuesday, Smulekoff’s was closed with a sign on the door that says they’ll reopen for the largest sale in their 125 year history on August 30.

After that, Smulekoff’s century long run will come to an end.

Before May’s Island looked how it does today, it held the first Smulekoff’s store. Even when the furniture retailer moved, once to the west bank of the Cedar River before landing on the east bank where it is now, it stayed on the same street.

"I think it's just because 3rd Avenue has always been a major route coming into the downtown area,” said Cedar Rapids Historian Mark Stoffer Hunter. “They always wanted the high traffic for the retail customers and the great visibility. They've always had great visibility in downtown Cedar Rapids."

Visibility and a good working partnership with the city.

Stoffer Hunter says Mays Island as we know it wouldn’t have been possible without the Smulekoff family.

"It shows a great cooperation between private business and the city leaders of the city government, and this is the second time it's happening,” said Stoffer Hunter.

In 1910, the family owned their building and the island it sat on, but chose to sell it to the city at the price they paid for it and relocated.

"The family worked with the city to make a better Cedar Rapids, providing the city with an island to build a government center,” said Stoffer Hunter.

That led to two of Cedar Rapids’ most central structures, the Veterans Memorial Building and the County Courthouse.

For more than a century, and now for just a few more months, people furnished their homes at the store along 3rd Avenue.

"It'll probably be as hard on the community as it is on the community inside the doors of this store,” said Smulekoff’s Communications Manager Theresa Blair.

We’ve all heard the jingle, now we just know it might not be playing for much longer.
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