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The Mole Hole

The Mole Hole in Eastland Mall.

BLOOMINGTON — The Mole Hole, which has been selling gifts at Bloomington's Eastland Mall for 34 years, is closing in January. 

Ron Porth bought the business in April 1997 from former owner Judy Morris, who first opened the store in 1984.

"After over 22 years at the Mole Hole I have decided to take the first step toward my retirement," Porth said on the store's Facebook page. "Thanks to you all for being wonderful customers over the years, your loyalty kept the store open all these years.

"I look forward to things I would like to do rather than things I have to do," he wrote. "Thank you all for helping this become a reality."

A "retirement sale" started on Thursday and will continue until Jan. 12. Plans are to close the store sometime between Jan. 12 and Jan. 31, according to the Facebook post.

Porth was not immediately available Thursday for comment.

Porth will still be involved in the Normal store's operations, "but he wants to retire and travel and that would be hard to do with two stores," said Lisa Hoffbauer, manager of Normal Gifts.

When Porth and his wife purchased the Mole Hole franchise shop, he owned a solid-waste business, Keep It Clean, in El Paso,

"I guess you could say I've gone from pooey to potpourri," said Porth in 1997 about his first venture into the retail field.

He told The Pantagraph then that he and his wife liked the store and when they saw it was advertised for sale they thought "it would be nice business to try to run for the next few years."

Bloomington-Normal business openings and closings

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Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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