The owners of Bethesda institution Bruce Variety say that they will close their store's Arlington Road location on Sunday.
News that the 60-year community fixture was closing its doors due to high rent drew heavy media coverage and shock and sadness from loyal patrons. even organizing an online petition asking the landlord to re-negotiate the $22,000 monthly rent.
But there is hope for the store -- owners say they're in negotiations to re-locate to a nearby site in Bethesda. The site is less than a mile away from the current location, according to Linda Ridenour, wife of Bruce Variety owner Richard Dimock.
“We’re hopeful our current negotiations for the new site prove to be successful," Ridenour said. "I can't say enough about the support from the community. It's been amazing."
Ridenour wouldn't specify the location because negotiations are ongoing.
Ridenour said many patrons have shown up to shop and share memories. One woman said her sister in New Jersey was planning a special trip to make a visit at Bruce's before it closes.
The store is selling all merchandise at a 50 percent discount, Ridenour said. She encouraged residents to come in and shop to help the store clear merchandise before the move.
“You’re doing us a huge favor, because it’s less effort we have to put into packing things up and moving them,” Ridenour said. “We’re going to be re-stocking the new store with new merchandise.”
The store is currently about a third full, she said.
Ridenour said that should negotiations prove successful, owners hope to bring the same look and feel of the old store to the new location.
"We're going to be taking our sign with us," Ridenour said.