ORLANDO-After 51 years as a Downtown Eustis, FL landmark, clothier Russells Inc. is closing its doors at year end, not because the business is failing but because the owner has accepted an executive position with a retail supplier.

Richard Livingston, the firm’s president who inherited the business from his father 18 years ago, says he has an offer but no contract yet from a nearby proprietor for the 10,000-sf, two-story property at 25 Magnolia Ave. The offering price wasn’t disclosed.

However, the sale’s closing, but not the deal itself, may be formally delayed because of a city-state clause in a $40,000 property improvement grant Livingston received last year. The clause stipulates Livingston has to repay the $40,000 if he sells the property within two years after receiving the grant.

The purchase offer was made by Rod and Mary Harris who developed Harper’s Alley, a mini retail area, directly across the street from the clothier. To get the deal started, the buyers are considering leasing the property with an option to buy the asset later.

Tentative plans are to subdivide the Russell’s 7,000-sf ground floor and lease the premises to small retailers. The second floor would be rebuilt as an apartment.

Russell’s Inc. began in Lakeland, FL in 1932 and opened the Eustis store in 1949. Lakeland is 60 miles south of Downtown Orlando. Eustis, Pop. 15,000, is 30 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

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