Endings (musings on closing of a shop)

(I still sometimes forget that shop is closed. I fell out of the habit of blogging spring of ’08, so I will have to look through my files to see if I took any photos of needlework and other craft projects I have worked on, or completed, these past few years. Updating “from scratch” is more time-consuming and tricky than some clever copy/paste of old archives. sigh.)

Feb 29, 2008
Our local Ben Franklins craft store is closing. What a horrible headline to great a person when they are pre-coffee and just waking up and logging on to read the newspaper.

Starting Monday they’ll be marking merchandise with sale prices, and it will be closed for good in May. I have a lot of fond memories of shopping there over the years, from embroidery patterns and tea towels, to silk flowers, fabric and art supplies, and in more recent years the threads and flosses and yarns and scrapbooking. When they started carrying Melissa & Doug products, they also set up a small train table with wooden trains for children to play with while parents shopped. My kids call Ben Franklins ‘the Train Store’.

I live within a reasonable walking distance from Ben Franklins. They have a nice variety of things I use, or others in the family use. They are one of the only stores in town that has Caron products (limited selection, but still! they have it!) for sale. (No one locally, alas, has silk floss.) I really like shopping at Ben Franklins, where most of the people are familiar faces that have worked there for years, who know what is in their store, and are very helpful.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I mean, this is the store we bought silk flowers from to create the floral arrangements for our wedding!!! And I remember my mom & I once filled a couple of very large bags full of bits and pieces of silk flowers and leaves from their “things fell apart so all these bits and pieces are discounted tons” bin. We had a lot of fun over the years with those flowers, from making wreaths to decorating hats, and a lot of other things. I’m going to have to make sure I stop over there before their doors close, so I can get enough craft paint to finish my insane mural I’m painting in the kids’ room. And there were a couple of inexpensive framing projects we’ve been putting off, but maybe those ought to get taken care of too, while we can still buy the stuff from a small business.

The impersonal nature of the big box stores can NEVER match the smaller businesses. Ben Franklins may be a franchise, but it isn’t at all the same at those Stores Which Shall Not Be Named, which more resemble a cavernous warehouse than a friendly shop.

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