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Local retailer ends 40 years in business

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 2, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Kayla Zinck Brase and DyVonne Zinck stand near items for sale on the last day of business at Fashion and Flair Outlet.

A familiar business in downtown Rugby quietly closed its doors for the last time Christmas Eve.

Fashion and Flair Outlet, formerly known as Borth’s Clothing Store, ended 40 years of service to Rugby residents after what owner DyVonne Zinck said was “a lot of praying.”

Zinck, who worked most days in the store with her daughter, Kayla Brase, said the rise of big box stores about 20 years ago, followed by online mass retailers such as Amazon dealt a fatal blow to the store.

Brase agreed. “COVID really didn’t have much to do with this,” she said.

“We’ve been scratching our heads and trying to think of how to keep the store open for at least two years. That’s why we remodeled. We were hoping that would spark some more sales and it just didn’t,” Zinck said.

Zinck’s father, Harold Borth, opened the store on Second Street Southeast 40 years ago.

“Borths started in Medina, North Dakota,” Zinck said. “My maiden name is Borth. They had a store that was started by my grandparents, so it’s very much generational.”

“The store probably goes back, well, my parents had theirs for 50, and we’ve had Borth’s for forty, so it’s got to be 100 years,” Zinck added. “My grandparents had their store in the 1920s.”

Harold Borth and his wife, Darlene, ran several stores in the area, according to Zinck.

“My dad actually had Coast to Coast, which was here, and he built Hardware Hank,” Zinck said. “My sister is RoJean Wentz, married to Terry Wentz. He built Hardware Hank for them, and we moved up here and got a clothing store. So, that’s how that all went.”

Zinck and Brase said they had many fond memories of their days working in the store.

“We used to dress up and have contests for Crazy Days,” Brase said. “One year, we were all Minnie and Mickey Mouse. I was thinking of that and thinking of kids running around. We handed out popcorn.”

“I also think of customers that came in here to find clothing for funerals,” Zinck said. “You can kind of help them through it, I guess, in one small way. You can be there for them and make things like that just a little bit easier. Or, if someone’s having a hard day, you can make their day a little bit brighter. You think of the conversations and the relationships that you’ve made along the way, people you wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

“Working with my mom has been a blast,” Brase said, smiling. “We’ve loved every minute of it.”

Brase said she enjoyed going on buying trips with her mom. “We went to New York to buy all the jewelry. Every pair of earrings and necklace is handpicked,” she added.

Zinck said their store’s closure follows a much larger trend. “It’s not just us (closing),” she said.

“People just aren’t walking into stores anymore. It’s devastating to small downtown businesses everywhere,” she said.

“You look at all the bigger stores that are struggling. You have Herbergers, which closed, and I think JC Penney’s is going to be next,” she noted, adding, “I feel defeated, but if they couldn’t do it, how could we?”

“There’s just not that many independent retailers around who can make a living,” Zinck added. “We had eight clothing stores at one time. We did a lot of buying and had a lot of fun. When we had eight stores, it was my dream.”

“Kayla’s daughter, who is a third grader, always had a dream to keep it going. I’m really sad,” she added.

Zinck said her family and her daughter’s family intend to stay in Rugby.

Brase’s husband, Benjamin, owns Brase Drilling in town.

“We’d like to thank our loyal customers for the last forty years. It’s been a legacy, something to stand up and be proud of,” Zinck said, adding, “It’s going to be horribly sad, but we are looking at what’s around the next corner.”

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