Popular Concession Street store closes after nearly 30 years
By Mark Newman, News Staff
Elliott Raphael sure picked an odd way to celebrate his 68th birthday on Sunday.
Raphael and his wife Eva closed their So Low Sales store for the final time at 2:22 p.m. on June 22nd less than two months shy of their 30th anniversary on Concession Street.
“The date just happened to fall into place to be honest,” said Raphael, who chose the date and time in part because it reminded him of an old pain killer.
“When we were young, one of the medicines that you were given if you had a headache was a 222 and I’ve had a lot of headaches.”
A store closing sign has been posted in the window since April and a steady stream of teary-eyed family members, friends and long-time customers visited the popular yellow discount store to say their good byes.
Steve Vucko, secretary of the Concession Street Business Improvement Area, dropped by with an unexpected birthday cake.
“This is a really difficult day,” said Raphael, who was clearly moved by all the well-wishers.
“We’ve had fabulous customers over the years,” said Eva. “They’ve supported us; they helped put our children through school.”
The couple chose the name So Low Sales using the first letter from the names of their daughters Shari and Laura.
Both were on hand for the final day of business on Sunday.
Raphael said the two buildings that make up So Low Sales have been sold to Anthony and Jerry Zarcone, owners of Zarky’s, with the deal set to close on July 7.
A “for rent” sign appeared in the window recently.
In the meantime, the west Hamilton couple will be spending the coming days boxing up unsold merchandise and cleaning out the store that has been their second home for nearly three decades.
So what’s next?
“I really haven’t thought about it,” said Eva, who expects to keep busy with their three grandchildren and helping Shari with her gift business.
Raphael said not having to come to the store each day will take some getting used to.
“We’re going to take a holiday, just relax a bit,” he said.
Raphael noted he has some other business-related ideas he’s exploring.
“We’re going to miss him,” said Helen Parsik, a long time So Low Sales customer. “If you wanted something he always had it or he would get it for you.”