ANN ARBOR – Tom and Cindy Hollander are closing their doors for good after nearly 30 years of business at Kerrytown Market & Shops.
The owners of Hollander’s decorative paper and book supply shop said that they had been discussing closing for years, though they will keep their online business going while retaining some part-time employees.
The store will close on June 30.
“I kind of look at it as semi-retirement,” said Tom. “So, stepping back but still having our hand in it and still being involved which I think will satisfy us for at least a few more years. I think it felt really hard to just go cold turkey, to just drop out of sight. It would have been hard for us and I think even harder for the community.”
The two said it was difficult to break the news to the owners of Kerrytown Market & Shops, a place where they’ve evolved from a 180-square-foot store to their 10,000-square-foot space today.
“They’re like family. They really are,” said Cindy. “It was really hard to tell them that we were ready to go. We’ve stayed here a lot because of them. It’s almost a year that we haven’t had a lease."
“We have been talking to them for a couple of years knowing they would sell or close at some point,” Andrew O’Neal of Kerrytown Market & Shops wrote via email. “Hollanders has been one of our greatest success stories. We are happy that Kerrytown had a small hand in their success and now they are going to have more time to spend with their grandkids.”
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O’Neal said he has begun showing the space, but it’s still too early to tell what it will become.
When asked why they didn’t sell the business outright, the Hollanders said it was just too complex.
“When you create a business from scratch and you’re always there and you’ve got your hand in it, it’s really hard to pass that onto somebody," said Tom. “It would be harder than you can imagine. All of the knowledge that we have and so many little idiosyncratic elements of a business after 30 years. To pass that on would have been a challenge.”
With the retail space and the bookbinding and book arts workshops being the two main sources of business, they say finding the right people to take over the business would have been a project in and of itself.
“There’s a division of labor that when we did consider selling it, we thought, ‘That’s going to be really hard for someone to do both aspects,’" said Cindy. “So basically (it’s) two of us that divide and conquer – and always have – so it would be a challenge I think to find the right person or people to take it over.”
As for the workshops, the Hollanders said they may continue to teach them, depending on the space they are able to get, and that they also hope to teach on the road during their travels.
Overall, it came down to sustaining the energy needed to run the business they’ve built over 30 years.
“We just feel like we can’t give it what it deserves anymore,” said Cindy.
“Even now, it’s hard to hear people come in and say they’re so sad, but they do understand that we’ve been at it for a long time," said Tom. “I think they know how hard we work and we just want to do some other things.”
Starting in April, Hollander’s will begin offering discounts ahead of its June 30 closing.