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Crazy Gideon: I'm Going Out Of Business and I Mean It

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at 12:54PM
Going Out of Business Ed Fuentes

Banners on Traction Avenue advertise Crazy Gideon's going out of business auction, scheduled for Saturday.

Downtowners can be excused for being a little skeptical when "Crazy" Gideon Kotzer says that his Traction Avenue store is closing this Saturday. Banners outside the Arts District space have claimed the store was near its end for years.

This time, though, there seems to be a little more urgency to Kotzer's now-legendary sales pitch. All of his inventory is scheduled to be auctioned off this Saturday, starting at 11am. Goods can be previewed tomorrow and Friday from 10am to 4pm.

"This is it. We stacked them deep and we sell them cheap . . . for the last time," said Kotzer yesterday, sitting in an office crowded with photographs of him next to local luminaries.

If a flat screen TV is not on your list of things to buy, you can take a look at some of Kotzer's other property that will be up for sale. He has also stacked his car collection deep, and the sale will feature three Rolls Royces, a Mercedes or two, and a 2004 Bentley.

"It's a professional auction. Everything must go–– the good, bad, and ugly––to make room for new events," he added with his booming cadence before continuing in a slightly softer tone. "We are changing the space so the neighborhood can hold new events. It will become working and exhibit space for artists. There are not enough places for artists to work. We will do whatever it takes."

Of course, even that was a slight change in his plans. As Kotzer looked toward retirement, he planned to turn to development, converting his warehouse space into 31 adaptive reuse residential units, 44 new live-work units, and ground floor retail.

However, with banks slow to finance developments, Gideon expects to wait "3 to 4 years" before converting his 39,000 square foot warehouse.

Kotzer was set to retire after 35 years, and the last slow Holiday season was just one more sign that it was time to hang up the sales angle for good.

Listening to him talk, you honestly believe him.

At least you do until a quick trip around the corner to Green Door, the new indoor gardening store that opened in November in the same building owned by Kotzer. Green Door co-owner Robert Donovan chuckled and said "Gideon asked us if we wanted also wanted to sell a few TVs."

That sales fire just doesn't seem to ever die.

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