Lynn McFee. 

After a great run, McFee on Main closes

“I didn’t do this to make money,” explains Lynn McFee. “I did it to prove I could do it. And to fulfill a dream.”

Dream fulfilled, mission accomplished, McFee went out on top, closing her popular clothing boutique on Friday of last week in order to retire and spend more time with family.

McFee opened her store, McFee on Main, at 400 East Main Street on September 29 of 2016. Following a successful 30-year career with Ralph Lauren, she wanted to be her own boss and express her own unique sensibilities in what would become a magnet for shoppers. When she closed the door for the last time on Friday, it was the end of her 2,806th day there.

McFee on Main weathered an assortment of storms, from her cancer diagnosis in December of 2019 to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, the shop became far more than a store, for her and many of her employees, customers and neighbors.

“It’s just been a little gem,” she says. “I had people tell me we’d never name it on this corner. But the corner turned out to be a blessing. I was very blessed and very fortunate.”

The iconic white building, which was first constructed for a dentist named Clarence Gleason back in 1893, has been many things over the years, but McFee and her husband, John, made it their own. They painted, installed new windows and doors, updated the electrical systems and plumbing, among other things. The store started with a focus on home décor, but clothing soon took center stage. McFee curated a collection specifically for women between 35 and 85, an ever-rotating selection bringing people back again and again. Along the way, the store has won six Best of Madison awards (and is currently in the running for a seventh).

Partially because of her own victory over cancer, and partly because of the countless stories her customers shared over the years, McFee began to think of the store as something more than a place for buying and selling.

“Through my journey I found it was really important to give back, and this place became almost spiritual for some people. We tried to pass on the love and help people on their journeys.”

In her eight years, she had 11 employees.

“The most rewarding thing for me was to know that I could do this, and to mentor my employees,” she said. “I adore them.”

Lynn and John are headed to a new home near Minneapolis, which will allow them to spend more time with her parents.

“The community we’re moving to is beautiful, but it’s not Mount Horeb,” she says, pausing as her eyes briefly glisten behind stylish glasses. “It’s not Mount Horeb.”

“I’m going to miss it a lot,” she concludes, “as I start another journey.”

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