Yorkville's only fun shop closing after 13 years
After 13 years of selling irreverent gizmos, gadget and games to the upscale neighbourhood of Yorkville, the gift store Rolo will be closing its doors at the end of the month for good.
Lesser known by its full name The Realm of Ludicrous Objects, the cluttered little space on Bellair Street has long been the misfit in a neighbourhood better known for its exorbitant price points than its sense of humour.
From selling small items like gigantic flasks and kitschy shot glasses to arbitrarily utilitarian objects like four-in-one axes, the store has never taken itself too seriously.
Even now, in its last phase, things at the shop are still light-hearted and flush with F-bombs.
"The ruder the better, that's how we were known," says the store's gregarious helmsman and owner, Rowley Ocampo.
According to Rowley, it was "the perfect storm" of factors that led to the store's closure, from congestion and traffic from nearby condo construction to raised parking prices by $3 – all which deterred customers from entering his shop.
"My customers have always been grandparents," says Rowley. "Mature individuals who have a good sense of humour, who want to spoil their grandchildren and friends with humour."
With the advent of online shopping, fewer and fewer customers started dropping by.
On top of that, the second-floor property is only reachable via stairs, making its knick knacks completely inaccessible for a large segment of Yorkville's population.
“Yorkville used to have little gems, little stores that were unique to the area," says Rowley. Now, he says, only businesses like the luxuriously priced streetwear brand Off White are the types of stores to succeed in the neighbourhood.
"I still love this area," he says. "But Yorkville is changing."
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