When Marvin and Lynn Arent opened their fur and upscale women's clothing shop at 160 E. South Temple, then Gov. Calvin L. Rampton marked the occasion by cutting a ribbon that was draped with mink.
On Friday, without fanfare, the Arents announced they will close the 73-year-old business within the next two months. "We decided this on the spur of the moment," said Lynn Arent during a press conference at the store. "We just want to play. That's it."Arent's was established in Ogden by Mrs. Arent's father, Abe Cohne, and was moved in 1919 to 151 W. South Temple in Salt Lake City, the present location of Symphony Hall. The family business has operated at its present location since 1968.
Although animal-rights groups have been critical of the fur industry for the past two years, Marvin Arent said the anti-fur sentiment has not hurt their business and in no way contributed to the decision to close shop.
"There are more fur stores on the Wasatch Front now than there were five years ago," he said.
Lynn Arent added, "If we were younger we'd start up a branch in Park City."
Oddly, Arent's has weathered Utah's economic woes quite well. And recession fears had no bearing on the Arents' decision to give up their business, either.
"We've been through lots of recessions before. I remember the recession of the '70s and that was one of our biggest years," Marvin Arent said.
The business was hurt most by the Texas oil bust, which occurred during the early 1980s.
Arent's has developed a worldwide reputation for its fur fashions and clothing. Its fur fashions have been copied by world renowned designers. Lynn Arent, for instance, designed the world's first sport mink, she said.
Customers from as far away as Tokyo, South America and London have traveled to Salt Lake City to shop at the store.
The Arents have two daughters, both attorneys, but neither wanted to take over the family business, Lynn Arent said. She said it would take about two months to liquidate the clothing and fur inventory, and then the store will be closed.
"The most difficult aspect of retiring will be the loss of seeing so many of the good friends we have made over the years, but we will have more time to enjoy each other and our family."