Family-owned Treasure Valley clothing retailer once had 15 stores. Its last just closed

A longtime local institution, the Farm Store in downtown Nampa, closed Dec. 30 after nearly 50 years of selling clothing.

Owner Larry Bishop said it was time to retire, and said it would be too arduous to pass the reins to a new owner. The building is now listed for sale.

The Nampa store at the corner of First Street and 14th Avenue was the last of 15 Farm Stores the business opened, and later shuttered, around southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, including in Boise, Meridian and Caldwell.

Bishop told the Idaho Statesman by phone that it was the heralding in of nearby big-box stores like Walmart that spelled the demise of many of the family-owned stores.

The business was started in 1974 by his father, Les Bishop, who retired in 1989. Both of them had no prior retail experience. But the stores gained traction, at least early on, for having good deals on items like boots, coveralls and jeans, as the store’s slogan, “Quality clothing at affordable prices,” implies.

“Our prices were reasonable and there wasn’t much competition,” Bishop said.

Then Walmart stores began moving in.

“Most of them were close to ours,” Bishop said. “Our sales started to drop dramatically and made it hard to be profitable.”

So the family began to close stores. By 2010, only the Nampa store was still operating.

Bishop said he began liquidating the store’s inventory in August. His other business, Store Fixtures of Idaho, which is located in the same building, is closing, too, after being in Nampa for 25 years.

The passing of the last remaining Farm Store is bittersweet, Bishop said. He thanks his former staff, including Dodie Martin, who worked there for over 30 years, and Ima Marcum, for nearly 20 years, for putting their “heart and soul” into the shop — helping customers, pricing merchandise and keeping things running smoothly.

“On behalf of Dodie, Ima and myself, we’d like to thank all our loyal customers who have supported us over the years,” Bishop said. “(It’s) the end of an era.”

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