Recently, I went to my favorite Hallmark store at 48th Street and Ray Road. The store has always been more than just a corporate looking Hallmark store; the ladies working there were neighbors, caring about us as a community.
The store often served as a gathering place to visit with neighbors/community members that we have known through church, school and sports. The unique gift section served as a fun place to purchase items for gifts. We loved the store and every person that worked within the store.
So, recently, I went to make my usual purchase of cards and pick up the holiday ornaments I buy for my grandchildren and friends, only to find out that corporate has invaded our community. The warm store with the small post office and the friendly ladies has been replaced by no post office; large overstocked Hallmark that you can find anywhere, and some person just there to sell.
When I inquired about the ladies that worked there, I was just told coldly that they were no longer working there. No opportunity to thank these wonderful ladies for the years of care, compassion, laughter given to all of us. My hope is that they read the Ahwatukee paper and will see how sad we feel that this has happened.
For me, I have memories of enjoying visits to the store. The ladies shared in the celebration of the birth of my grandchildren. Over a year ago, my son was critically ill and the ladies of the store sent a card. There is no replacement for having a store like that.
First, we lost Mervyn's; then Stein Mart, and now a true neighborhood store.
I walked into a change that was so sad. I walked out not buying anything from there, nor do I plan to ever step foot inside again. I can buy Hallmark cards anywhere.
So, to Marilyn, Debbie, Shirley, Jane and anyone I am forgetting, thank you so much for being part of the community. You all made shopping a pleasure, and I wish you all the very best for the future.