WATERVILLE — Beverly’s Card & Gift store at 100 Elm Plaza will close next month after many years in business.

Owner Paul Lessard hoped to sell the business but had no takers, so he discounted everything in the store and hopes to sell as much as possible before closing sometime in March. The closing date depends on how the sale of merchandise and fixtures progresses.

“I’m going to be 80 in April,” Lessard said Wednesday. “Initially, my plans back in the day were to retire at 65, ride off into the sunset. I’m glad I stayed. I enjoy being in business. I enjoy the contact with other humans.”

Lessard and his wife, Beverly, who now is retired, started in business 38 years ago in 1983 when they bought The Carriage House Gift Shop at JFK Mall from Marc and Sylvia Vigue, who also had a store on The Concourse. In 1992, the Lessards bought The Concourse store, as the Vigues wanted to retire, and kept it until closing two years ago. The Lessards closed the JFK Mall store in 2001 and moved to Elm Plaza.

Years ago, the business was part of the Cardsmart chain, but that company went bankrupt and another business bought it out. Beverly’s has been on its own for many years.

The store now is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. It is closed Sundays.

“Everything’s on sale,” Paul Lessard said. “My seasonal cards, Christmas, Valentines, are 50 cents. My everyday cards are half off. Gifts are 50 percent off.”

Merchandise is on sale as Beverly’s Card & Gift is closing at 100 Elm Plaza in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Slower-selling items are discounted even more, according to Lessard, who said he is asking people interested in buying fixtures such as shelving and displays to make an offer.

Besides Paul Lessard, the store employs one person full time, and five people part time. The Maine Department of Labor has offered assistance to employees in applying for benefits, he said.

Lessard said he will miss the business, his customers and his employees.

“It has been a wonderful time,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a thing. My wife and I are so blessed to have had a successful business with wonderful people who supported it over the years.”

A post on the store’s Facebook page notifies people of the impending closure and asks that gift certificates and the like be used soon.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal customers, past and present for their business,” it says. “Your patronage was greatly appreciated. It goes without saying how deeply indebted we are to our sales associates, past and present, for their support. With our store closing at hand, please use any gift certificates, store credits, etc. at your earliest convenience.”

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