Newport Stationers has helped customers deliver important messages over the last 55 years about weddings, births, or wishing loved ones a Merry Christmas.
Now its employees are struggling to deliver a final message: Goodbye and thank you.
The San Miguel Drive shop will close before Jan. 31 after the Irvine Company refused to continue accepting a discounted rent price that helped keep the doors open for the last 19 months, General Manager John Tackman said.
Over the last week, about 1,900 customers have come through to buy remaining inventory or just say thank you for their decades of service, Retail Manager Peggy Tackman said. The shelves were about half empty on Tuesday but many greeting cards, day planners, and fountain pens remain.
“We’ve had many people crying,” John Tackman said. “There’s a lot of anger expressed toward [the Irvine Co.]”
Over the years, multiple families have bought announcements for their children’s births, wedding invitations for those same children, and then grandchildren’s birth announcements, he said.
Peggy Tackman, who started working for the company at 18 years old, describes her customer base as mostly an older generation who expect high-quality service and errors to be fixed quickly.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when they come in just to say thank you,” she said.
In a letter signed by Phil Vise, senior director of property management for Irvine Company Retail Properties, the Irvine Co. thanked Newport Stationers for its many years and said it values their relationship with owner Colin West and his team.
“Irvine Company has worked closely with Newport Stationers’ owner to support his business, including providing concessions over the years,” Vise wrote. “We wish Mr. West all the best in his future endeavors and celebrate his decades of business in Harbor View Shopping Center.”
Lillian Singelyn, a 23-year resident of Newport Beach who visited Newport Stationers on Tuesday said she’s purchased party invitations and Christmas cards from the shop for two decades. She was disappointed to read the store closure on a local online forum.
“I think it’s unfortunate the Irvine Co. does things like this that take away stores that we enjoy,” she said.
At its peak in the nineties, Newport Stationers had 165 employees, four retail stores, a printing shop, a fleet of five trucks, and an office machine sales and repair business, John Tackman said. It has downsized to seven employees, plus a husband-and-wife janitorial team.
Peggy Tackman said her current team of employees is by far the best she’s led over the years.
“This one just melds together,” she said.
Newport Stationers won’t pursue moving to another location because their business relies on being close to their customer base and most alternative storefronts are also owned by the Irvine Co., John Tackman said.
The Tackmans will take some time off before making a decision on their next venture.
For more information, visit newportstationers.com.