RoeMark’s Men’s and Western Wear, a staple on Main Street in Hermiston for nearly four decades, closed its doors Friday.

“It was not an easy decision for us, but you can’t work forever,” Roe Gardner, owner, founder and president of the business, said. “You have to move on, try new adventures.”

Beginning Saturday, Gardner and his staff will re-price everything in the store — including displays, fixtures, office supplies and memorabilia — and the store will re-open Thursday for a going out of business sale. Once the merchandise is gone, the business will close for good.

“Marilyn and I have been at it approximately 40 years, and we’d like to retire,” Gardner said. “I’m really kind of sad to see the store close because not only have we met a lot of good people in Hermiston, but the town needs a store like this.”

Gardner grew up in Heppner and his wife, Marilyn, in Pendleton. After he served a term in the military and a few years as a banker in Portland, he began working toward moving back to Eastern Oregon. The Gardners visited Hermiston at the suggestion of a friend, and because he had worked at a men’s clothing store in La Grande during college, Gardner saw the need for a similar business in Hermiston.

With a business partner, he opened RoeMark’s — titled after the first names of each owner, Roe and Mark — in 1973. They gutted and renovated the historic brick building at the corner of Second and Main streets and filled it with men’s formal and specialty clothing.

By the end of the 1970s, the business had expanded into the neighboring store to offer women’s clothing and expanded Western options.

“Hermiston has more than tripled since we first came to town,” Gardner said. “Not only has the town grown, but the surrounding areas. That was one of the things we really liked about Hermiston. The attitude was very progressive.”

Although the couple plans to travel in their retirement, Gardner said Hermiston will remain their home base and they will continue to be involved with local committees and organizations.

“We’re too much a part of Hermiston to drop everything and forget about what got us here,” he said. “We really appreciate people supporting us over the years. That’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most: taking care of our customers and knowing we provided what they need.”

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