According to a press release issued by the store owners last week, Whimsic Alley, the popular “fandom” store on Wilshire Blvd. in Miracle Mile, will be closing soon.
Both a shop and a popular party and entertainment venue, with a castle-like Great Hall event space and a retail area resembling a Dickensian streetscape, the business has been catering to fans of the Harry Potter books and movies — as well as fans of other popular entertainments such as Game of Thrones, Dr. Who, Outlander and even Downton Abbey — in its current location since 2008 (and it was located in Santa Monica for five years before that). It sells books, costumes, toys, magic wands and other character-related accessories, and has hosted hundreds of birthday parties, tea parties, costume balls, murder mystery dinners, fantasy-themed craft fairs, day camps and even weddings. For many years before Potter-themed attractions opened at Universal Studios, fans from all over the world would trek to Whimsic Alley for its one-of-a-kind items and atmosphere.
“New multi-million dollar theme parks and exhibitions are awe-inspiring,” owner Stan Goldin said in the closing statement, “But for many years, Whimsic Alley filled a void that no one else seemed interested in filling. Our staff enjoyed serving our clientele as much as they hopefully enjoyed their experiences. As a result, we developed close friendships along the way which we hope will continue for many years to come.”
But Goldin told the Buzz that those new theme park attractions, along with other factors such as the rise of online shopping, and perhaps also traffic and parking disruptions from local subway construction, may be what finally sealed the fate of the beloved store. Business has fallen off dramatically in the last year or so, he said, and “we can only speculate why.”
Goldin said that since the announcement, many customers have been coming in to say goodbye, as they’ve become good friends with the staff, as well as with each other through the store’s many events and gatherings over the years. Goldin said he’ll always be proud of what he created with the business, but the time has come for it to end. “Everything goes through a cycle, right?”
In anticipation of the closing, which will likely take place sometime in June, Whimsic Alley has shuttered its online store, and has launched its first-ever store-wide sale at the bricks-and-mortar location, with 30% off all merchandise. If you need a new wizard robe, magic wand or book of spells, be sure to make one last visit in the next few weeks.