After more than 30 years of operation, Lincoln Interiors in Virgil is closing its doors.
“It’s bittersweet,” says Petra Wiens-Browning.
The decision follows a plan she and her husband made — to retire early enough to enjoy time with their children.
Unfortunately Mark didn’t stick with the plan — he was a victim of terminal cancer four and a half years ago.
“The decision to close the store was hard to make,” says Wiens-Browning. “I love this business, I love the customers, the suppliers, the networking. But my family needs me.”
Wiens-Browning has two children, 10 and 12 years old, and aging parents who live with her. “My dad has dementia, so he needs full-time care,” she explains.
Her father is Siegfried Wiens, a rather prominent business owner in Niagara. He started Peninsula Upholstery and Flooring in 1963, and then doubled his empire when he purchased Lincoln Interiors from Henry Wiens in 1978. Henry Wiens (no relation) subsequently used that money to invest in the Prince of Wales Hotel.
Wiens-Browning was groomed to run Lincoln Interiors. She started working in the Virgil store after school and weekends in her teens, and then went away to university at Wilfred Laurier. When she graduated with a degree in business administration, she had her choice of jobs at large companies such as IBM and GM. Her parents would support any decision she made but, “They suggested I just try the store for a little while — and I never left. I’m so glad I made this choice: this is the best community to live and work in.”
The goal is to sell off all of the store’s inventory in a big closing sale, starting Friday, Sept. 21. The sale will go on as long as there is furniture to sell — Wiens-Browning hopes to be closing the store completely before December. However there is a lot of inventory. “We’ll be emptying our warehouse as well. It’s on one of the properties being considered for the medical centre, so we may need to clear it out sooner rather than later.”
Wiens-Browning plans to lease out the building when the current business closes, but is in no hurry and hasn’t yet begun that process. “I don’t want to be rushed out of the building,” she says. The plan is to keep the doors open for as long as there are items to sell, and then take a step back and assess what her next steps might be.
“It might be fun to work two or three days a week — but not right away. Right now my parents and kids need me — and I’m happy to take it easier for a while.”