Two popular Johnson County stores now exist only on the web

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - Sally Hilkene wasn't happy about doing it.  The owner of Churchill wanted to keep her doors open to walk-in shoppers because that's the way she likes to shop. 

"I like to touch and feel because I'm of that generation," she said.

But the reality of doing business in 2014 forced her hand. About two weeks ago, she made Churchill a web-only store. 

"The younger generation now, it's not as important to them," Hilkene said, "They want quick satisfaction and to be able to order things on the web."

Churchill still occupies the same space in Fairway as it has the last 10 years.  But now people can only stop by if they've made an appointment. Hilkene said the decision came down to numbers; walk-in sales have been plummeting while web sales are exploding.

The trend started when the economy tanked around 2008.

"The web was supporting us greatly," Churchill store manager Chris Garrett said. "When we saw other stores absolutely disappearing off the planet we were getting web sales and seeing some profit that way."

The crash is what drove Marilyn Taylor to let her lease expire at Prairie Village Shops and move her business into her Olathe home. M. Taylor is now a specialty gift store that exists only on the web. While she appreciates the idea of touching before buying, she said many older shoppers are changing their ways.

"I find women of all ages getting on the internet," Taylor said, "A lot of our previous customers who used to come in the store are now placing orders online.”

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