Business closes doors, owner blames parking meters

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A downtown business is closing its doors after 34 years of business.

Connection Army Navy store has been in business for 34 years and is now shutting down for good.

The Connection Army Navy store, located on Main Street, is going out of business and owner Walter Misemer is pointing the finger at the newly installed parking meters.

He says sales have plummeted 30 to 45 percent in the last two months.

"The straw that finally broke the camel's back for us was the parking meters. It has really hurt us," Misemer said. "We have lost a lot of customers."

Connection Army Navy stores around the country have been shutting down for a while now. He attributes that to more people shopping online and a younger generation with a weaker connection to the military.

However, he was hoping to get five or six more years out of the store before retiring.

"I had a guy last week buy a pair of boots who listed five stores he went to first before he came here and it was all because he didn't want to pay the parking meters," Misemer said.

Handicapped parking is another issue. According to Misemer, handicapped parking is free in many cities with parking meters but here it is not. Many of his customers are older veterans with handicapped needs.

Misemer hopes to find another job working with veterans before officially retiring in a few years.

Questions or comments about this story? Do you have a tip for another story? Reach out to the author, Nick Reagan, directly.