Monday, May 18, 2015

Bruce Variety closing (Photos)

Bruce Variety is closing. The legendary downtown Bethesda variety store that had everything you needed - and other things you didn't know you needed - hasn't set a firm closing date, a store employee said today. She said they do plan to remain open at least until June.

They are currently holding a 10%-off retirement sale. The store's owner is retiring, and has not sold the business, the employee said.

Bruce Variety moved from its classic Bradley Shopping Center location to 8011 Woodmont Avenue a few years ago. The new location did not have the same foot traffic and draw that the Bradley location did as advantages - and also required paid parking on weekdays.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

That store has sucked since it was sold by Mr. Bruce many years ago. Most of you don't know that he also had Robert's shoes next door. Robert was his first name. Surprised Dyer didn't put that in the story.

Turn the current location back into Sir Walter Raleigh's

Anonymous said...

This news is a punch to the gut of long time Bethesda residents. Sad to hear of the closing.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising. The new location was devoid of the clutter that made the old location so much fun to rumage through. Doesn't make it any less sad though.

Anonymous said...

Well, they didn't want to move. So sad, so many great memories from that messy store. It will be missed!

Anonymous said...

I had no reason to go. I am not sure what they sold. Hoping people just walk by your store, decide to go in, and figure out what's inside might not have been a great business plan in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

The new location really didn't work as well. Being part of the Bradley shopping center meant being able to make several stops in the center, and of course Bruces would be one of those stops.

I love the little "house" they're in on Woodmont, but it's just not as convenient. I imagine the lack of free parking was an issue.

Steve D. said...

A sad day for Bethesda. One of the very few stalwarts still soldiering on from the pre-Metro era.

I agree that the new location, attractive though it is, lacked the funky, fun clutter of the original where you never quite knew what you might stumble across. Also that part of Bethesda is a bit barren retail-wise.

Anyway, I haven't been a regular customer for quite a few years, but I'll always remember going there to get Halloween costumes, back to school supplies, and the occasional greeting card, art supplies, or toy.

Wrol said...

Always sad when a local business closes, but what did they offer that wasn't readily available at the dollar store or internet for cheaper? It's unfortunately the direction all these mom and pop shops seem to be heading in.

Anonymous said...

Amazon is great if you know exactly what you want, but I doubt a child today will have the sense of wonder shopping online as they did at Bruce Variety.

It was about the experience...

Anonymous said...

Yeah I can understand that. Dollar store had the same experience for cheaper too.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a totally different Bruce Variety store. This one was a bad location and bad products. About a year ago my wife and I needed to get some party supplies. So we went to Bruce Variety and we walked in and no one was in the store - including employees! This was midday on a Saturday and we were ready to buy lots of items but couldn't since no one was there to ring us up! We even walked around the store yelling if anyone was around - it was really bizarre. It will be missed but I am not surprised how this ended up.

Andrew said...

I agree that the new location wasn't as good. Stops at the little house were usually after eating somewhere in Woodmont Triangle. This reminds me of what happened with Second Story, booted from Bethesda Row and trying to keep things going in Woodmont Triangle and failing. It can't all just be restaurants and high-end shopping.


Anonymous said...

I for one would like to see some national chains. A Target would bring a lot of people to Woodmont Triangle, for instance. Not without its own issues, of course.

Anonymous said...

We really need the big projects to go through on that long block bounded by Cordell, woodmont, Fairmont plaza, and Wisconsin to begin to activate that area.

Anonymous said...

I'm noticing that the majority of commentators are lamenting the closure of the old Bruce Variety and talking about the distant past.

I don't see anyone saying they visit the current store.

This is presumably the problem and the reason they're closing.

Anonymous said...

I am so sad to see a store close that I haven't visited in approximately 40 years. What a shame it couldn't be saved, so that I don't have to live through such an awful thing. Wah, wah, wah.

Anonymous said...

Halloween was seven months ago. Doesn't Dyer have any more recent photos?

Robert Dyer said...

9:57: Breaking news doesn't always allow for a photo session.

Anonymous said...

Tough times for small businesses in Bethesda...

Steve D. said...

"Anonymous said...
Yeah I can understand that. Dollar store had the same experience for cheaper too.

5:02 AM"

Where is there a dollar store in downtown Bethesda?

Anonymous said...

I think montgomery mall has one?

But either way, the commentor was lamenting the loss of the experience in Bethesda which isn't there anymore from Bradley anyway. So no one has that here.

Ah well. Party city, maybe? :)

Anonymous said...

Bruce Variety was a great store. The old one had absolutely everything you could possibly need, and someone who knew where it all was! It was tremendous fun to mosey through the aisles and come across something that was just perfect for what you needed. They were forced out of the old store. The new store never was able to re-establish the atmosphere of the old store, but the owners were just as nice, and the wife often gave me wonderful advice on sewing and crafts. The husband once told me there was a better product for what I needed at another store. They were decent folks, and I'm sorry to see them go.

Anonymous said...

Every time I went to Bruces it was either closed at 2 pm on a saturday for some reason or the owner and his wife was rude. I tried giving them a fair chance when they moved but there is plenty of other good stores in bethesda that have similar stuff. party mania has some party stuff, and bradley party and variety has the party and the random stuff similar to what bruces had too. Life will go on,and things change, just like the service at bruces did. It was a good store for a long time, so enjoy your retirement.

Jan Scherer said...

Even though the fabric section wasn't much, at least they had SOME material. Now, where do you go for sewing fabric? Out to Rockville Pike?