PLAINVILLE — The Old Blue Barn is expected to close in the next couple of months after gift shop owner Fran Krysiak announced plans to retire.
“It’s bittersweet, this is a lot of fun,” Krysiak said. The store will remain open until everything is sold, which Krysiak estimates will take around six to eight weeks.
Walking into the gift shop, located at 270 N Washington St., customers are greeted by the aroma of candles and shelves of carefully curated gifts, including jewelry, figurines, stuffed animals, picture frames and more.
“I always try to make it not like a store in here, but like a home,” she said.
Some of her biggest sellers over the years have been popular collectibles such as Beanie Baby, Boyds Bears and Webkinz.
Storrs resident Alicia Sprague said she came to the store for the first time for Boyds Bears. On Tuesday, she was looking for a few presents.
“The people love the gifts I get from here … it’s different from Walmart or Target, more personal,” she said.
Krysiak opened the store in 1994, taking over the Bargain Barn when her brother retired. She believes the work she put into finding quality items made the Old Blue Barn successful.
After two decades of doing her holiday shopping at the barn, Linda Bruce said the staff had become like family. She appreciated their attention to details, like wrapping.
“It was just the special touches that they did that you didn’t find in the other stores,” she said.
As they paid for their purchases at the register, husband Mike Bruce said the chime that played when the front door swung open reminded him of their first time visiting.
“I’m going to miss that sound most of all,” he said.