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Old and local stores, mid-April edition

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The economic downturn is hitting local stores especially hard. Saddest among those affected are the decades-old establishments suddenly facing bankruptcy or liquidation. Recent news affects several notable stores with long histories:

  • In Westchester County, New York, Chappaqua's Second Story bookstore is closing after 37 years in business. Its owner, a former president of a national booksellers' association, is retiring and not selling the business. Second Story counts Bill and Hillary Clinton among its patrons.
  • In the Denver suburbs, Andrisen Morton is closing its women's store after 30 years in business. Its men's outlet remains open, but the women's business has been declining since the recession picked up steam.
  • And if you're trying to practice your way to Carnegie Hall, Joseph Patelson won't be able to help you anymore. The longtime sheet-music retailer is closing its doors after six decades in business.

Zero dollars

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Here's an appropriate recession-era gimmick: a store where everything is free. Sure, it's an art installation, but Free Store is living up to its name, complete with transactions and sales receipts. Patrons are encouraged to drop off their own merchandise for the store to "sell," replenishing the supply. The store, in lower Manhattan, is open through the end of March.

Metropolitan Museum of Art closing stores

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This one just bubbled up: the Metropolitan Museum is closing 15 stores nationwide in a cost-cutting move. The museum only had 23 stores, so this is a substantial resizing. The news resurfaced in conjunction with reports of layoffs and financial losses in the museum's endowment. No operating plans are planned for the museum itself.

Baltimore Opera bankrupt

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The 58-year-old Baltimore Opera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and canceled its entire season. The opera, which has been struggling, also canceled contracts for three productions in next season's plans. The company faced a cash shortage and emergency financing guarantees in the weeks leading up to the bankruptcy filing.

Timely Demise tracks the retail industry as it changes with our unprecedented economic environment. Published by David Wertheimer. Did I miss something? Drop me a line.

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