(SPOT.ph) 2020 was tough on all of us both personally and professionally. The global pandemic took its toll on small, local businesses, especially ones that had fewer resources than big-name chains and thrived on foot traffic passing by corner-street brick-and-mortar shops. Below, we list down the well-loved stores we were forced to say goodbye to this past year. While these closures are certainly a loss for us and for all of Metro Manila, let these heartbreaking farewells remind us to always support local.
These are the well-loved Local Stores Closing in 2020:
Marikina Shoe Gallery
Marikina Shoe Gallery, the main hub for Marikina-based shoemakers and the home of the world’s largest shoes (as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2002), officially closed its doors in late November due to the devastation of Typhoon Ulysses earlier in the month as well as the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The store was an institution and popular tourist destination in the city of Marikina. Following the closure, the Riverbanks Center where the store was housed held an exhibition sale for Marikina-based concessionaires.
Common Room Katipunan
After five years in operation, arts and crafts shop Common Room closed down their first store in Manila in late July."It is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to Common Room’s first home in Katipunan," they wrote on a Facebook post. Since opening in 2015, the humble shop gained a community of art lovers and became a place to discover homegrown brands and local artists. They currently still have branches open in Power Plant Mall, Alabang Town Center, and Ayala Malls Manila Bay.
Ritual, a popular one-stop shop for eco-conscious and sustainable products, closed its outpost in Arnaiz, Makati City, in early October. "This was a good shop, our second one. Great-looking, nice-smelling, a center of calm for our customers and also for us. Our perpetual playlist that now loops in the office. Customer life stories, interesting everydays. Our sweet neighbors. Everything will be missed," they wrote on an Instagram post. They noted, however, that the store will continue to serve their customers online.
Regina Gift Shop
Regina Gift Shop—yes, that Regina—ceased operations in early June after over four decades in operation. "It's been 43 years filled with discounts, good memories, and color. Thank you for growing old with us!" they wrote in a farewell Facebook post. In its final days, Regina was spotted with empty shelves and window displays where various knickknacks and unique finds once sat. The well-loved store first opened in 1977.
In mid-September, 35-year-old local comic book store Comic Quest closed up shop due to the "combined pressure of the pandemic as well as the disruption of the global distribution of comic books," they wrote in a Facebook post. Comic Quest first opened in November 1985 with their first branch located at BF Homes. They have since expanded to outlets in SM Megamall, Greenhills, Makati, and even SM Cebu. Aside from comic books, they also sold toys and apparel inspired by popular comic book franchises. As a special thank you to to their patrons, they held a farewell sale at their SM Megamall branch where all items were marked down at 50% off or more.
Quirks SM Aura Premier
In early July, novelty gift shop Quirks put everything in their SM Aura outpost on sale at 50% off as the store lived out its final days, officially closing at the end of that month. Quirks has long been known for the unique, fun items in their stores that often included finds inspired by pop culture favorites like Star Wars and Harry Potter. They currently still have branches in Power Plant Mall and SM Megamall and are available online.
The Comic Odyssey BGC
The Comic Odyssey closed its popular branch on the 4th floor of Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City on August 2. "The pandemic has completely changed the face of traditional retail," they wrote on an announcement on their official Facebook page, noting a shift towards online selling. Since opening in 2012, the store has been the site of many events and gatherings for comic lovers and pop-culture geeks alike such as the annual Free Comic Book Day, among many others.
In August, Pineapple Lab along Palma Street in Poblacion, Makati City, officially closed their doors. "No words can even capture all the moments in between these photos and all the people that changed our lives along the way—many of whom have continued to create movements in some shape or form," said the art hub's creative director Andrei Pamintuan on a farewell Facebook post. "I just want to say that I am so thankful to each and everyone of you. And that I’m so so so sorry to the many artists who called us their home," he said. Over the years, Pineapple Lab has been home to cool exhibits like Jappy Agoncillo's Rising Odds as well as stores and pop-up shops like Glorious Dias and 2019's The Lil' Gay Shop.
Marikina-made footwear hub Stride Collective opened their first brick-and-mortar store as recently as July 2019, but were forced to close up shop in late October. "It was a short but sweet run for our Stride Store," they said on a Facebook post, stating that they remain grateful to their partners, clients, and advocates and will miss their space. For the time being, they’ve moved their stock to partner manufacturing house Risqué Designs where you can book an appointment to see how the shoes are made or to meet the artisans behind the handmade products.