Overland Park’s Blue Willi’s clothing store to close

Blue Willi’s plans to close its Overland Park store – its last company-owned retail outlet in the U.S.

A ‘store closing’ sale will begin next Thursday at 9 a.m. at the store in Hawthorne Plaza, 4817 W. 119th St. It will be open extended hours during the first week of the sale.

Blue Willi’s is a Danish company that produces women’s and men’s clothing sold in at least 27 countries. The company has built a loyal following by using natural fibers for its clothing, which make the pieces both durable and comfortable.

Last fall it announced that it would go out of business, citing several factors including the weak global economy. It later closed three other stores in the U.S. However, several Blue Willi’s employees convinced the owners to keep the company going through internet sales and supplying boutiques, but not operating branded Blue Willi’s stores.

Georgann Norton, who has managed the Overland Park store since it opened in September 2010, said the economy is still an issue with consumers and they are not spending as much on high-end products as they have in the past.

The Overland Park location has many loyal customers, but Norton said they will still be able to order the clothing online.

“I’ve worn the clothes ever since they came to the U.S. and still have the stuff I bought 15 to 20 years ago,” she said. “It’s casual but you can dress it up or dress it down, very versatile as well as comfortable.”

The store’s lease runs through the summer but the store will close once the inventory is sold.

A Blue Willi’s also had previously operated in Town Center Plaza in Leawood for several years.