With its whimsical mix of handmade artisan products, clothing and jewelry, Whyevernot is an icon of downtown Mystic.
For decades the store has drawn people to downtown, but this month after 31 years in business, 22 of them at the 17 West Main Street location, the shop is closing.
It all happened what seemed like rather suddenly. One day a sign appeared in the store window announcing a retirement sale and the closing of the store. Owner Martha Hug, by nature a private person, declined to comment for this article. But almost as soon as the news spread goodbye messages began appearing on social media sites and locals were stopping in the store to say farewell, buy one more treasure or write one last Valentine to hang in the store window.
“Whyevernot has been an anchor store in downtown Mystic and will be truly missed by both visitors and locals alike,” Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce outgoing president Tricia Cunningham and incoming president Tricia Walsh said in a statement. “They have offered the community of Mystic a wonderful place to go for gifts, jewelry, clothing and excellent customer service along with a dose of creativity. We are happy for Martha and wish her well on her retirement and thank her for the many years she has called Mystic her home, we will be forever grateful to her for her commitment to Mystic!”
When I stopped in the store last week much of the merchandise was gone and some of the few items left had sold signs. The other shoppers kept telling the staff how much the store would be missed.
“We’re very sad that they are leaving, but they’ve been in business for 31 years and here for 22 years,” Steamboat Wharf LLC Owner Paul Connor and Property Manager Kate Rampellini said.
Steamboat Wharf LLC owns the building that houses Whyevernot.
Other local business owners, including Michael Walsh, who owns Mine in Stonington, took to Facebook to say goodbye:
“As the owner of another store in Mystic I am happy for you and sad for us. Your store was a destination and one of those truly classic local stores that left me feeling good whenever I went in there. Good luck in your retirement. I wish you much happiness after many years of hard hard work,” Walsh wrote on Whyevernot’s Facebook page.
“Great store. Thanks for the years of great gifts and fun browsing. You will be missed!” Kate Perch wrote.
It’s too early to know what will take Whyevernot’s place, but Steamboat Wharf LLC hopes they will be able to find another tenant to fill the spot that will become as beloved as Whyevernot. “We are looking for a unique store, something that is going to draw people to the area the why Whyevernot did,” Connor and Rampellini said.
It won’t be an easy task.