On July 5, 1964, a 22 year old named Bob Harsh opened the door to his first business, Bob’s Card and Party Shop, located in 1,110 square feet at the Village Shops in what is now Chico’s.
Fifty years later, Harsh and his business are still around — and an emblematic fixture at the shopping center. Harsh renamed the business Tiffany Town and moved it into its current location next to Hen House in 1977.
As the shop prepares to celebrate five decades in business this Saturday, Harsh said he’s been surprised by and grateful for the continued support the community has given the shop, even as the greeting card business has undergone rapid change. Some of his original customers still visit, he said, and many customer families are on their third generation.
“There’s gotten to be so much more distribution into the Walmarts and K-Marts,” he said. “There’s been a real decline in independent card shops. I guess longevity has helped us through. We’ve always had such great support from people in the community.”
Harsh’s son David has been actively involved in the business over the past ten years, but Bob still comes in every day. As for the future, he says he doesn’t know how long he’ll keep working — but that he knows he won’t surpass the shops’ current record holder for most years worked at the center.
Bill Spangler, with whom Harsh used to have lunch in the years after he opened the store, still comes into his Village Shops store several days a week at the age of 91.
“I’m not going to beat Spangler,” he said.
Harsh said opening the store and seeing it through the decades has been the fulfillment of a dream. He said he and his family watched the center being built after they moved to Prairie Village in 1947. He never had the urge to go far.
“I just wanted a nice little house here in the Village and a nice car,” he said. “That all came true.”
Tiffany Town is planning on holding a 50th Anniversary celebration after construction on the center wraps up later this summer.