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The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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Unique local store to move from 60-year location in Bethesda

Local craft store Bruce Variety has left its longtime location in the Bradley Shopping Center and will move nearby to 8011 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda around March, a store employee said.

Local crafts store Bruce Variety will be moving location after 60 years in the Bradley Boulevard Shopping Center. Photo by Bridey Kelly.

After 60 years of providing the community with its eclectic collection of merchandise, the store closed Jan. 13 due to an increase in rent reportedly bringing the total up to $22,000.

Bruce Variety announced in late December that it planned to close its doors when its lease came to an end. Shortly after Christmas, the store put up signs announcing a closing sale of 50 percent off all merchandise.

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Employee Hopeton Dobbs began working his first job at Bruce Variety in April 1988. He has developed friendships with many loyal patrons over the years, he said. Before there was word of a new location, Dobbs said he was frustrated at the closing of the store and noted many that customers felt the same way.

“I’m very upset,” he said. “A majority of the customers were very displeased with it.”

There was pandemonium in the store after the announcement, nine-year employee Lola Toleque said.

“The lines have been really, really long and a lot of people have expressed how sad they are and how much the store has meant to them,” she said.

However, once news got out that the store was officially reopening at a new location, Toleque said that the mood among the customers changed and they grew excited at the prospect of the move.

The store is optimistic about the future Woodmont location because it’s a much better financial deal, Toleque said. In addition to the outpouring of support from customers in the store, she said that the community support online, including sophomore Amir Khagani’s petition, encouraged the owner to keep the franchise alive.

Khaghani started the petition on Change.org in response to a suggestion from a member of a Bethesda community listserv 20817 BB.

Khaghani emailed the petition to the 800 members of the listserv, and they forward it to others, creating a ripple effect for the petition. He said that within twenty-four hours he had about 500 signatures.

“A lot of this has been word of mouth,” he said. “That’s why I did it online. You get more people and it goes faster.”

Bruce Variety owner Richard Dimock got in contact with Khaghani through a friend on the listserv and told him that he was happy with the petition. Khaghani said that the owner wants him to make another online petition of sorts to gauge the response of the current customers about the move.

Bruce Variety has been an essential part of this community, art teacher Jean Diamond said. Students in the area especially benefit from the little things Bruce Variety has to offer, she said.

“If there is a multimedia project or any other project where students don’t need very big supplies, but just a little box of colored pencils or a little bit of glitter—when you just need a little bit of something, this place is a jewel,” she said.

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  • R

    Richard DimockMar 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Bruce Variety has moved and is open for business at their new location, less than a mile away from the previous address. Our new address is conveniently located at 8011 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, Md. There is plenty of parking, (free on weekends), and so many other thriving businesses to patronize, just a stone’s throw from Starbucks and Tastee Diner. So grab your coffee and stroll down to our full service variety store. We are anxious to meet your every shopping need. Give us a call first if you wish at 301-656-7543. Thanks for your 60 years of loyal shopping……….we are a family institution and proud of it!! Thank you Bethesda!!!