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Longtime Medora store closing as owner retires

MEDORA -- Since Circle C Gallery and Gift Shop owner Corinne Davis announced plans to close her store recently, scores of customers have tried to get her to reconsider.

"Since we put the sign out front, I bet there have been 1,000 people who have come in and said, 'Oh, you can't close,'" Davis said. "I've been doing this for 11 years though, and I'm tired. It's time for a change -- time to do something else."

Though she has changed locations a couple of times, Davis has been a business owner in the western North Dakota tourist town since 2002. She said the past two years have been the most successful she's had with Circle C -- a popular Medora shop on the first floor of Davis' home on Third Street, which specializes in everything from cowboy hats to kitchenware -- but she wants more time to travel and pursue other interests.

"I've had inquiries about selling the place, but I don't want to give up this property," Davis said. "I kind of lucked out on having an opportunity to buy it and I want it to stay with me or my family. I went into Boots Bar and Grill the other day and heard the rumor in town was that I turned down $3.8 million for the place. I got a laugh from that. I said, 'If there's somebody that is willing to pay that, we'll talk.'"

Davis said she decided this summer that she wanted more free time.

A businesswoman her entire adult life, Davis said she will miss going to Atlanta to search for items for her store and the process of "putting everything together" at Circle C. Nevertheless, she knew it was time to move on.

"The good Lord blessed me with the ability to choose things for other people," Davis said. "I found out that the key is to find things that will keep the interest of men and women, which is why I moved to offer more kitchen and food items. Both men and women cook. I love art, too, but you don't sell near as many of those items."

Part of any successful business is also good help, which Davis said she was lucky to have. Betty Obrigewitch and Debra Hutzenbiler, both of Belfield, have been with Davis since her entry into the Medora business world in 2002.

"It's been very enjoyable," Obrigewitch said. "We have fun. We always stay busy, but we have a good time doing it. I'm happy to have worked for (Davis) for the past 11 years."

Though her store will close for the final time at the end of September, Davis said she plans to come back to Medora during the warmer months, when she isn't traveling or hanging out at her other residence in Washington. Her son, Brad Skachenko, owns Boots Bar and Grill.

"Circle C was a well-known business in Medora and it will be missed," said Medora Mayor Doug Ellison. "We all wish Corinne great success in her future projects."

Davis, who was raised in Killdeer, said she also plans to delve into land development projects on the outskirts of Medora, adding the town will always be special to her.

"In the past 10 years, Medora has changed for the better, I think," Davis said. "People come here even in the winter now and we've gotten so many people that recently came out to North Dakota to work, and who didn't even know the state had anything like Medora. The oil industry has introduced a lot of people to Medora and that's a good thing."

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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