Farewell, my lovely shops

Posted by crosenbl on January 29, 2009 

It’s news as depressing as the ashen January sky.

One local business, then another, succumb to the economy and close their doors. Earlier this month, Artisan Connection in downtown State College called it quits, and the other day I learned Mt. Nittany Wheelworks in Ferguson Township will no longer sell and repair bicycles.

Goodbye to two dependable friends.

Starting at its Allen Street shop, then after its move to Beaver Avenue, the Artisan Connection became one of my regular stops for birthday and Christmas shopping. Not only was browsing fun, the beautiful objects from local and area artists pure eye candy, but I usually left with a distinctive present.

My grandmother, ever the stylish figure, loved receiving her annual necklace made by State College native Margaret Duda out of semi-precious metals and gems from around the world.

When I needed a racing bicycle to compete in my first triathlon, the good folks at Mt. Nittany Wheelworks helped me choose a model and the appropriate gear, patiently answering a neophyte’s basic questions.

For that race, and again the next year, I trusted them to disassemble and ship the bike to California. They were my bike shop — I said so on the triathlon entry form — and I relied on them for seasonal tune ups to minor repairs.

Now they’re both gone and already missed.

Considering the circumstances these days, it’s not a surprising development. I fear other independent shops will follow.

But losing them still feels like a shock. Nothing’s permanent, I know, but local spots can come to seem so. Year after year, they’re fixtures in your little world, their services and wares known and trusted — until, one day, poof.

Then you wonder who's next.

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