Business

Main Street’s Mary Jane’s announces plans to close

PARK CITY, Utah — It was 20 years ago when Lori Harris opened her first pop-up shop within Bunya Bunya in 2003, and grew into its own space when Harris opened Mary Jane’s current location on Valentine’s Day of 2004. Upon opening Mary Jane’s, brainstorming ideas initially started with a wine bar, but pen to paper made her reconsider. That’s when a friend of Harris’s, a handbag designer who had come to Park City for the Arts Festival that year, gave her a new idea.

“[My friend] said, ‘this town doesn’t need a wine bar; it needs a shoe store!’ I have always been into fashion since I was a little girl, and the idea took off for me, said Harris. “There were only 3-4 women’s stores back in 2003, and none focused on shoes, so Mary Jane’s was born!”

Over the past 20 years, Harris has experimented with multiple retail ideas within Mary Jane’s. The new store brought great success at the onset that she tried adding other retail, including a kids’ boutique and men’s lifestyle wear with street art exhibits. Harris even opened a second Mary Jane’s in her hometown of St. Louis to see how it landed in a city setting. “In the end, I decided to keep the focus on the Park City Mary Jane’s location,” she said.

Lori Harris, owner of Mary Jane’s. Photo: Lori Harris.

The decision to close Mary Jane’s is a hard one for Harris. The store has been and participated in the community, from hiring young and aspiring women to bringing fashion front and center to Park City for decades.

“Park City really is a small community that becomes a large “city” a few times a year. I have loved meeting so many locals and visitors over the years and working in the business community with the Chamber and the Main Street Business Alliance,” Harris said. “One of the most rewarding things though has been working with so many young women in the community and watching them grow up and become successful adults.”

Since Harris opened Mary Jane’s, she has seen its locals grow and the town change. The retail industry has gone through ups and downs over the years, and Park City has experienced its struggles with brick-and-mortar locations.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but there are a lot of challenges in the world of retail right now. Competition (both brick and mortar and online), wages, and rents are all increasing on Main Street, and there are still the issues of parking and traffic to contend with,” Harris said. “On the flip side, the visitor base continues to grow, and Main Street is still one of the main attractions in Park City. I wish all Main Street businesses good luck over the coming years, and I will continue to shop and support them as a resident!”

As for what’s next for Harris, she plans to refocus on other endeavors, spend time with family, and travel.

“I have quite a few things that I am evaluating right now. My plan is to continue supporting women in business, assisting in fundraising for some local charities, and spending some much-needed downtime working on my golf game, skiing, and traveling the globe,” Harris said.

While Mary Jane’s is closing, there is still time for customers to come and enjoy the last weeks of shopping with some perks and a chance to say goodbye.

“We still have an amazing selection of fall and winter merchandise, so we are going to be offering various discounts over the next few weeks to encourage our customers to shop and take advantage of these great deals!” Harris said. “We will also be selling all the store furniture, fixtures, and display items.”
Harris agrees it is an end of an era and wants to wrap up this chapter on a high note — giving back to the customers she has valued over the past two decades.

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