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What Now? Last Call at Bloom's

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Saturday, February 28, 2009, at 12:52AM
Bloom General Store Ed Fuentes

Counter Talk: With a photo of Joel Bloom behind her, Deborah Maukar waits for the next customer on the last weekday for the general store. It closes Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, Deborah Maukar was manning the counter at Bloom's General Store. One by one, locals came in to buy an item and catch up on the day's news.

On this day, of course, the big story was the store itself. The Arts District fixture will be closing today, after a fifteen year run.

The first sign proving the news was true wasn't the hand written paper flyers announcing that "Everything must go." It was the empty spot where the Cigar Store Indian once stood guard, already claimed as a keepsake.

"I've been hearing 'It won't be the same' all day," says Maukar, a former Cal Arts Student who lives in the American Hotel, the building that houses Bloom's, Bedlam (formally Al's Bar), and Mexican Cafe Ay Caramba.

Fortunately for locals, Ay Caramba owner Issac Ibariucca, whose take-out section shares a door with Bloom's, will have sundries stocked by Monday morning.

"It's important for the neighborhood that something is here." says Issac, adding he will begin to be open on the weekends, and staying open until 9pm during the week.

As a historical footnote, the small room in Ay Caramba that now holds a kitchen and front counter was the first location of Bloom's General Store.

The current Bloom's General Store for one more day, and as the locals say, it won't be the same once it's gone.

But then, Bloom's just wasn't the same without Joel.

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