GREENFIELD — The sign taped to the front-door glass of Red Ribbon Antiques fairly said it all: “The store will permanently close Saturday 16th of August 2014.”
After more than 25 years as a downtown business landmark and an antique destination for aficionados worldwide, the store that Gloria Holloway built starting in 1989 will finally pass into Greenfield history.
Gloria, 76, lost her fight against cancer last December, and this week a contract for sale was signed for the storefront at 101 W. Main St.
Next Monday, auctioneers will begin taking inventory of thousands of items the store amassed from both sides of the Atlantic. The antiques will be prepared for off-site auctions, said Leonard Holloway, Gloria’s husband.
Ultimately, there were offers for the building, and the time was right to wrap up the business.
“We didn’t want to close it right away,” Holloway said of the decision to remain open for a time after Gloria’s death. “But she was winding down after 25 years anyway, and at my age, 77, I don’t want to be in here seven days a week.”
The building is being purchased by Tyner Pond Farm owner Chris Baggott, who plans to borrow from another Greenfield legend for his new business.
“We’re very excited,” Baggott said Thursday. “We have the building under contract and hope to close shortly and then open a restaurant.”
Taking its name from a James Whitcomb Riley poem, Grigsby’s Station will become a local eatery and public gathering place serving farm-to-table fare from Tyner Pond Farm, Baggott said.
As soon as construction crews complete construction at The Mug, across town in September, Baggott said, work will begin reinventing the Red Ribbon building.
The Holloways purchased the building in March 1988 and spent a year renovating the structure before opening for business a year later.
They immediately began cleaning up, removing 100 years of wallpaper. On Saturday evenings, Leonard would bring friends from Indianapolis to help him remove and replace the structure’s old, rotting floors.
From that point, Gloria established a client base that numbered in the thousands, with customers who returned to the store from Greenfield and well beyond.
“They’re sad about it,” Leonard said about patrons’ reactions to learning the store would close. “She had a lot of loyal customers. They were from all over the world – Denmark, Germany, Indonesia.”
Though the Red Ribbon’s doors will close this weekend, it will be some time before the store and its matron fade from memory.
A full eight months after her death, Leonard was still taking calls Thursday in the back office from customers asking for Gloria. He explained that the longtime proprietor of the Red Ribbon was no longer there.
“She still gets a lot of calls,” he said. “They didn’t know.”
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, but “after that, it’s gone,” Holloway said.
Allen Gastineau, one of the store’s four employees who has been working there for over three years, said the overall impression of the Red Ribbon was far greater than the sum of its parts, and it will be missed.
“I learned a lot here,” Gastineau said. “At the end of the day, I just want to throw my keys in and walk. I don’t want to talk about it.”