The liquor store down the street from us seems to have closed. When I say "right down the street," I mean it. It's three doors from our house. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be commenting on something like this. Liquor stores are not places I normally frequent. Family-owned, neighborhood-based businesses, though, are an interest of mine, especially those with a long history. All of that describes this place to a "T."
The beer advertising in the windows has been replaced by curtains. The lights are out. There's a notice on the front door about where to deliver mail. The really cool big neon sign of the beer bottle popping its cap has been taken down. When I first came to Louisville, it used to still work, but over the years, it kind of deteriorated. It was still kind of a neighborhood landmark.
This was just a little mom and pop business, the kind where the family lived upstairs or in the back of the business. The elderly woman who owned it still lives in the building. I don't know a lot about the history, but I'm pretty sure she kept the business going after her husband died. When I used to have to catch an early bus to work, I'd see her coming out of the back of the building to open the business up. I used to wonder then what kept her going. Now, I'm kind of hoping that the decision to close was her own, not something forced on her by doctors or her children.
The closing of this little corner liquor store won't attract big attention or news. In fact, I'm not sure myself how when it happened and I walk by the place every day. I just happened to notice the curtains the other day. Like I said, these kind of places interest me, because there are fewer of them left all the time. The little Dairy Dell not far from us has a for sale sign up. I guess you could say that it's a sign of the times we live in, but it's hard not to be a little nostalgic, or maybe a little wistful, when a place like that closes.
Places like that were once touchstones for neighborhoods. Longtime residents dropped by for a visit or to catch up on gossip. Those kinds of businesses were anchors and landmarks. Even when I was a kid, you could find dozens of them everywhere. I'm not trying to make any to make any kind of grand statements here about anything, at least not this time. I definitely do have my opinions and biases, but for right now I'm just feeling a little reminiscent about a place I never visited, but was always there, just three doors down.
And then I peek above the curtains and see all the classic beer promotional items that are still hanging on the walls and my inner junker kicks in: What's going to happen to all that cool stuff? And the cycle goes on.