By Emily Hoover | email@example.com
For Needful Thingz, a music and novelties shop on West King Street, anniversaries are bittersweet.
The store, which opened on Oct. 3, 2008, will close on Saturday, exactly one year after its open, due to economic shortcomings and pending road construction.
“The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze in about August,” said owner Robert Heinrich, 32. “After the [Flagler] kids left in May, I was putting money in that I wasn’t getting back. You can’t sustain it that way.”
Heinrich moved from Lakeland to Saint Augustine in 1997 to be closer to his sister, Mitzie. After being stationed with the Navy in Jacksonville, he decided that it was time for a change. The siblings, together with partner Chris Emerson, opened the store to give credit to the American counterculture.
“We wanted [the store] to run for every subculture around,” Heinrich said. “There is a great scene on this side for kids, not tourists.”
Heinrich, who loved punk rock as a teen and is “really into Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards” right now, said that, in addition to his musical tastes, his partners’ tastes also characterize the store.
“My sister, who is ten years older than me, traveled with the [Grateful] Dead, so there is a lot of influence from her,” he said. “Chris is really eclectic. Musically, he’s really into Clutch.”
The store, which sells everything from hair dye to band t-shirts, has been a major supporter of the local Saint Augustine music scene. Heinrich sponsored a benefit for his neighbor who had injured his leg. He also helped to organize three block parties and booked several local bands, and held a birthday bash for the late Hunter S. Thompson on July 11, featuring local bands Blacksmithz, Malta and Bermuda.
In addition to lending a hand to the music scene, Needful Thingz has also been a part of Art Walk.
“They usually [got] a pretty good crowd during the Art Walks,” said Hahau Yisrael, 21, a Flagler graphic design major and artist. “I make it a priority to stop by [Needful Thingz] on art walks because they highlight younger and more contemporary artists. And they also let artists show for free.”
Needful Thingz will participate in one more Art Walk this Friday, Oct. 2. They will show one photographer and three painters. On Oct. 10, Heinrich will hold one more concert, titled “Death Do Us Part,” at Kulture Hooka Lounge.
Before its close, the owners of Needful Thingz offer 30% off everything in the store. Everything that is not sold will be placed on Ebay, Heinrich said.
Upon closing Needful Thingz, Heinrich plans to relocate to Orlando to pursue film school at Full Sale. He hopes to work on his own independent material while there.
While Heinrich is saddened by the fact that the shop is closing, he said he had a great time and learned a lot.
“I’ve met a lot of people and I have seen a lot of really great bands in this town, bands that I’d like to see in the future, in other cities,” he said with a smile. “I’d like to quote Hitchhikers Guide [to the Galaxy]: ‘So long and thanks for the fish.'”