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Bruce Variety to Close

Longtime Arlington Road fixture will soon close its doors.

Arlington Road store Bruce Variety is set to close, an employee confirms to Patch.

It wasn't known when the store would close its doors.

The store has been a longtime fixture in downtown Bethesda, selling home goods, paper goods, apparel, gifts and novelty items.

A manager couldn't immediately be reached for more information on the closure. Stay tuned to Patch for updates.

This article was changed to remove the description of the store as a hardware store.

Erin Donaghue (Editor) December 31, 2012 at 05:20 PM
We had one reader write in and tell us she's been shopping at Bruce Variety since 1975. What are your memories of the store?
russresearcher December 31, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Erin- there's a petition on change.org asking Mr Barrow, trustee of the bldg, to renegotiate their lease. Word is that they want to raise it above the present 22K per mth and the owners can't manage that without going out of biz. Having trouble sharing the link on my Android:( Qill trylater
susan fritschlers December 31, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I can't believe it! Bruce Variety has been part of Bethesda since time began. BTW, I've never thought of it as a hardware store.
SManer December 31, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I can't imagine where we will have to go to find sewing supplies, arts & crafts, party favors, etc., You may find the petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/mr-barrow-allow-bruce-variety-to-renegotiate-their-lease If that doesn't take you to the petition, click on "browse" and "recent". It was first on the list.
Erin Donaghue (Editor) December 31, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Thanks -- I'm trying to get some verification on what's going on with the lease (as described in the online petition.) I've reached out to Bruce Variety and the shopping center owner and will update when I know more.
Gail Weiss January 01, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Bruce Variety is not a hardware store. The hardware store, Strosneiders, is next door. Bruce's is a variety store, as its name suggests, meaning it sells a variety if things. If it was a hardware store it would be able to afford the rise in rent that the and lord is imposing.
bethsin January 01, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I used to work at Bruce's when Mr. Dodson owned it in the late 70's. I think that people are sentimental about what is USED to be. The current incarnation is just depressing with empty shelves and indifferent staff. I hate to say it but I'm afraid its time may have come.
Anna Tyce January 01, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Understandably, you may be sentimental about the way it used to be, but for the rest of us who are current customers and are the under 40 crowd, we love it for what we know now and for the way it has served us, our young families and the community across the board. Where else can a teacher shop, apply their purchases to a house account for their school AND receive a discount on their purchases because of their status as teacher? When I had difficulty finding a sleeve garter for an elderly relative, the owner immediately offered to call his notions resource and special ordered it for me. From kazoos to hairnets to darning eggs and modelling clay, from collar extenders to wallet inserts to wax lips and more, we may as well get used to not being able to find things like this anymore.If the community isn't completely outraged, than they are not paying attention......this is an end of an era, and the beginning of a nightmare for the rest of us as we will now be faced with making half a dozen stops, to find the handful of items that we need. Everyone knows what it will be like, as we see it when we travel and try to find something that the big box stores decide that they don't want to carry in their inventory. The specter of what will be, is waaaaay more depressing to me than the occasional under merchandised shelves.
Andrea Stevens January 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM
My family moved to Bethesda in 1954, and Bruce's has been part of my life since then. Now 3 generations have purchased / discovered everything from school supplies to party favors, fun gag gifts for summer camp care packages, toys, craft items, and every weird notion you never knew you needed until you could only find it at Bruce's. I am stunned, and angry by the apparent lack of the owner's capacity to galvanize the loyal customer base before succumbing to economic pressure. A decent social media campaign BEFORE all this "moving sale" nonsense might have made a difference. Now it's unlikely they'll reopen to empty shelves. So very sad.
Bastante January 02, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Owner interviewed here: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/12/bruce-variety-in-bethesda-closing-83589.html
Bastante January 02, 2013 at 08:42 PM
This article should amuse everyone: http://www.bethesdaworldnews.com/exclusive-rare-dinosaur-fossil-found-in-bruce-variety/ but did you know that Bruce Variety once made the New York Times? http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/06/magazine/bruce-variety.html Wherever they go, I hope it is someplace easier to get into/out of. I HATE that shopping center. I've begged Strosniders to move. You can't make a legal (or safe) u-turn out of the shopping center. Getting into the shopping center is not easy, either - too much traffic piles up from the light at Bradley and cars come quickly around the bend and down the hill from the other direction. The new apartments and shops that will be built across the street, where the post office used to be before they moved it to an insane location with no parking, will only make matters much, much worse.

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