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story.lead_photo.caption Angela Harvey of Queen City, left, checks out the deals available at Handbag Bazaar with help from owner Barbara Dittrich. A longtime customer, Harvey remembers the shop from its original location at Town West Shopping Center next to Target. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — For 35 years, Barbara Dittrich poured her heart and soul into her specialty shop. But like all good things, this venture had to end.

"I started Handbag Bazaar 35 years ago," she said. "Seventeen years in this location, the other at Town West Plaza. I've seen this store through many years, seen many customers."

Dittrich lives in Maud but started this business specializing in handbags and ladies accessories in Texarkana.

This year has been especially challenging.

"We were shut down completely the first couple months of COVID," she said. "We've opened back up since, but my customers have been a bit worried about coming back out to shop. It has reached the point where we can't go on anymore."

She says the best thing about her shop was her customers. "I've made friends here," she said. "I will miss that most of all. I really appreciate everyone who came here all these years."

Angela Harvey of Queen City is one of those who discovered Handbag Bazaar early on, becoming a customer during its Town West Plaza phase.

"I liked everything I saw in there, this quaint, quirky store," she said. "I love our small businesses and hate to see one close."

The store will be open for awhile yet, with deep discounts, Dittrich said, at least till the end of January.

After that?

"I will be retiring and devoting my time to my family and our farm," she said.

(Handbag Bazaar is at 4010 Summerhill Square. For information, call 903-832-1898.)

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