Beloved craft, party item and obscure gift store Bruce Variety opened in its new Woodmont Triangle home today.
After more than 60 years in Bradley Shopping Center and what owners Linda Ridenour and Richard Dimock claimed was a rent-hike orchestrated by neighboring Strosniders Hardware to oust them and take their space, the store commonly known as Bruce's is back on its feet at 8011 Woodmont Avenue.
Bruce Bethke, his kids and his mom were some of the first customers in the new space, which Creative Parties Ltd. gave up for a space in the nearby Landow building last year. The green and blue house near the corner of Woodmont and Cordell Avenues became a landmark of sorts.
"Some of my earliest memories going shopping were going to Bruce Variety," said Bethke who took his kids to visit his mom, who still lives in the area, and decided to head to Bruce's. "It's something that always appeals to the kids, so we stopped by. They have some nice space. It's bright and colorful and inviting."
Dimock said the new space is larger than the old one in Bradley Shopping Center at 6922 Arlington Road. He's still waiting for some button items to come in, but the shelves are mostly stocked and ready for Easter weekend.
A customer called seeking Easter egg dye sets. Ridenour said there were a few left.
Ridenour and Dimock's decision to close the original store earlier this year because of a rent spike inspired an online petition asking the shopping center owner to reconsider. Multiple trustees contacted about Bruce Variety have either referred the matter to someone else or not returned messages.
Last week, the Strosniders Hardware store that was neighbors of Bruce Variety for almost 60 years unveiled plans to debut its own variety and party store in the old Bruce Variety space.
Whatever controversy there is around the move, word of Bruce Variety's reopening traveled fast.
About a dozen customers milled about in the store on Friday afternoon and Dimock and Ridenour are optimistic about the future.
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