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Century-Old Utah Western-Wear Store Says Adios

Three generations of Crosses in the store that is closing after 127 years. From left, Ken Cross, Tony Cross and Witt Cross.
Howard Berkes, NPR
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Three generations of Crosses in the store that is closing after 127 years. From left, Ken Cross, Tony Cross and Witt Cross.
The Cross family claims this is the nation's oldest continuously operated western wear store.  C.W. Cross opened for business in 1878.
Howard Berkes, NPR /
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The Cross family claims this is the nation's oldest continuously operated western wear store. C.W. Cross opened for business in 1878.

The rising bankruptcy rate shows that new businesses face enormous odds. So, imagine staying in business for 127 years. That's what Cross Western Wear has managed in Ogden, Utah, until now. The decline of ranching, changing tastes in clothes and the closure of the shopping mall across the street have the descendants of C.W. Cross closing the store he opened in 1878.

An auction is scheduled Saturday for the remaining boots, hats, jeans, spurs, bits and other cowboy clothing and gear. More then a century of family artifacts also go on the auction block, including C.W.'s roll-top desk, saddles, buffalo hides and holster.

Great Grandson Tony Cross, one of two brothers running the store, is philosophical about the closure. "When you're doing a third of what it was ten years ago, dollar-wise… the fun leaves. So… you say, 'Well, I made a good run at 127 years.'"

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.