Hatfields to close last two stores


by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - John Hatfield at Hatfield's Boutique.

   When John and Jennifer Hatfield close the Hatfield's clothing stores in Madras and Prineville in May, it will mark the end of three generations in the clothing business.
   John, who was elected to the Jefferson County Commission in November, and Jennifer, a full-time reading specialist at Westside, have found that, "There's not enough time in a day to do everything," he said.
   So, when the owners of the Third Street location in Prineville remodeled and doubled rent, the Hatfields made the difficult decision to close that store and the tiny Hatfield's Boutique in the back of Petals-N-Posey's on Fourth Street in Madras.
   "We looked around (in Prineville) and didn't find as good a deal as we were getting," Hatfield said. "Getting a bigger place here would have been more rent."
   Either way, it would have cut into already small profit margins.
   Besides the increase in rent, Hatfield noted that most building owners now expect three- to five-year leases. "The last 40 years, we have always had month-to-month, which is probably unusual," he said. "It's a whole different world now."
   The Hatfield's tradition started with his grandfather, John Edward Hatfield, who had a men's clothing store in Lebanon in the 1950s, and a general merchandise store in Cloverdale, north of Tillamook, prior to that, in the 1930s and '40s.
   His grandfather helped his father, Don Hatfield, 81, in his first retail venture -- a grocery store.
   "Dad bought Hess Department Store in Madras in 1958," he said. The store was located on Fifth Street, north of The Stag, in the Mountain View Hospital Auxiliary's current location.
   Hatfield, 57, was a teenager when his dad moved the department store to the McCaulou Building in 1966, the same year his dad put a Hatfield's in the Bend Plaza on Third Street.
   "Eventually, we had stores in Bend, Walla Walla, Pendleton, Moses Lake, Wash., Redmond and Prineville," he recalled. "That was back in the heyday in the '70s and '80s, when strip malls were the big thing."
   By the time Hatfield closed the Madras department store in 2003, the only store remaining was the Prineville women's clothing store, which had opened in 1999.
   In September of 2004, the Hatfields opened the Madras boutique, which helped out when they had to buy a half-dozen or dozen of a single item.
   "When you've got one little place," he pointed out, "there's not enough volume to make it go. It was great when we had three or four or five stores."
   The Hatfields will miss the clothing business. "It's been nice having these two (stores) so I didn't have to quit cold turkey," he said. "It was fun; the best part was the relationships with the customers, salespeople and help."
   For now, both stores are still offering new spring clothing, ordered in August and February for the current season. "We're going to sell it down and clear it out," he said, noting that bargain hunters will find that everything is already discounted by 20 percent.