The line to check out at Yakima Bindery was so long Monday that people were waiting in the different departments of the store.
Every employee was busy all day long checking out customers or helping them find items.
The office and art supply store at 310 E. Chestnut Ave. attracted a crowd on the first day of its closing sale. The store ran out of several items, such as small U.S. flags by day’s end.
The storewide sale — where items were marked down by as much as 80 percent off — followed an announcement Friday by Yakima Bindery president Pres Tuesley that the retail portion of the business would close after 115 years.
Most of the shop’s dozen employees will be laid off, but about four employees will continue to work for Yakima Bindery’s copy and printing operation, which will remain in business in the same building.
Gabriel Gonzalez, 26, of Yakima came to the store Monday with his niece, son and fiancee. He said the store is his go-to place for paper he needs for a duplex he owns and manages.
“I shop online too, but I prefer shopping in-store, personally,” he said.
That wasn’t the case for most shoppers. “It’s been slowing down, and we’ve been losing customers,” Tuesley said in an interview Monday.
That challenge was even more significant with rising costs, such as increases in the state’s minimum wage. That wage will increase to $13.50 an hour come Jan. 1, which would likely negate any effort to generate new customers and sales, Tuesley said.
“I’m fighting an uphill battle,” he said.
The store’s loyal customers, however, helped make Yakima Bindery a holdout in the office supply industry. Yakima lost many locally owned retail stores over the years.
“I’m glad we were able to keep it going for this long,” Tuesley said.
Jim Miller, a Terrace Heights resident, has shopped at the store since the 1970s.
“Whatever you wanted in art and paper, it was here,” he said. “The people running it were awesome. They know their products. They can always help.”
Miller, 82, said he thinks he’ll have a harder time finding items once Yakima Bindery closes. “Now we will have to go to three to four stores to get what we want,” he said.
Corey Hodge, 45, and daughter Siena Schut, 17, stocked up on their favorite pens. Hodge, who has shopped at Yakima Bindery on-and-off since she was a child, also appreciated the store’s vast inventory. She often bought items, such as colored envelopes, she couldn’t track down at other retail stores.
Hodge said she would visit other shops to try to get what she needs, but knows they won’t be offering the same extensive selection. “I probably wouldn’t get exactly what I want,” she said.
The Yakima Bindery retail store will be open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until all items are gone. Tuesley didn’t have an exact date, but he said it could be at least three weeks before the retail store would close. The shop’s framing service will also close.