What can I say? Today was the final day of sales for Fred Flare, the company my son and his partner owned and operated for fifteen years. Now the offices and warehouse at 300F are shuttered.
The past two days were surreal as hundreds of people stood outside Friday and Saturday, waiting for the doors to open one last time. Waiting to purchase the last of our inventory, our desks, our computers, our camera equipment, even the art on the walls.
The giant Chris Uphues’ hearts left early. So did the collapsible bicycles. And anything that looked like a Christmas gift. The clothing remained. Then the mannequins and the file cabinets made their exits, followed by shoulder bags and books and feathers. The clothing looked more appealing without such competition.
Foxy I and Foxy II, the Styrofoam mascots that came with us from the previous warehouse, were carted away by a young woman. Originally she only wanted one, but Chris – who always had an affinity for the foxes – said they couldn’t be separated. She caved.
It was like our history was being dismantled, piece by piece. Still, every now and then a customer stopped, looked at one of the owners, and said: “I loved your store. Thanks so much for being there.”
I wanted to cry.