A lack of downtown parking made worse by Fourth Street repair work that dragged on nearly three months might have been the straw that broke the toy camel’s back for Imagination Station owners Craig and Julie Wells.
The store’s owners are calling it quits at their speciality toy outlet at 315 Washington St., two and a half weeks before Christmas. Today is the final day the store will be open.
The couple’s flagship store in Franklin remains in business, however. On Friday, the toy store was scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m.
Craig and Julie Wells, who opened the downtown Columbus toy store two years ago, said they might look for another location in Columbus at some point, but sales haven’t been strong enough to justify keeping the location open any longer.
“Saturday will be our last day of business,” the owners said via email. The shop sells educational games and specialty European playthings from companies such as German-made Playmobil and French-made Janod play sets.
“We have greatly enjoyed our time in Columbus the past two years. Columbus is a special community with wonderful people. We want to thank you for giving us the privilege of serving you. While we are closing our Columbus location for now, we will still be in Franklin to provide you with the best selection of high-quality educational toys, books, games and gifts.
“It is our hope to return to the Columbus area at some point in the future,” the Wells said in their email.
When the Christmas season started Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Wells said the Columbus store had experienced difficulty getting established.
“The last two years have been a struggle,” Wells said at the time. “It seems we’re always needing to make up ground.”
He said the city’s $1.7 million Fourth Street project, which started in early September, limited access to his toy shop a block away and made parking trickier for customers.
Ironically, the Fourth Street work was wrapping up Friday with numerous trees installed along the sidewalk with soil in planters, utility hookups in place and cars finally allowed to park on the two-block stretch between Jackson and Franklin streets.