ARLINGTON, Mass. - For Arlington residents, Balich five-and-dime store was a place where cleaning supplies co-existed with party cups and where ecletica seemed like the guiding inventory light. A place customers called home.
After 64 years in business, on Saturday Balich opened for the last time.
“I’m going to miss my customers,” said Joe Balich, owner of the retail store. “But it’s time. I know deep inside me it’s time to retire.”
In the years the Five-and-Dime has been in the Balich family, there were many good days. But about five years ago, Balich first noticed the erosion.
“I think it has a lot to do with the internet and online sales,” said Balich.
Likewise, the store’s downfall is in part due to a diminished number of wholesalers. Balich said in the past he could order just a few of an item and put it up for sale, whereas now he’s forced to order a lot of the same.
Higher inventory, fewer customers is proving not to be the recipe for success.
One of the biggest issues Balich Five-and-Dime is facing is that the customer base is getting older. “My problem is I don’t have younger people to replace my older people,” the owner said.
As the final clearance sales went up, Balich’s loyal customers showed up for one last time.
“We used to come down every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday to shop around and buy candy and trinkets and little toys,” reminisced Patricia Walsh, one of many customers who will miss being regulars at Balich’s store.
“I’ll miss it. Right now it hasn’t hit me,” said Balich. “But in a few days when I’m here looking at all these fixtures and nobody is around… I’ll feel it.”
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