A long-time Clarendon business has closed its doors but remains in business in another state.
A&R Engravers recently vacated its small storefront at 2836 Wilson Boulevard, next to IOTA Club and Cafe. The trophies, plaques and other engraved items that once adorned the windows and walls have been removed, leaving behind a bare space behind a simple “closed” sign.
The store closed earlier this fall and moved to North Carolina, owner Jeffrey Griffiths told ARLnow.com. He noted that A&R, which was first founded in 1958, had been in its current storefront for about 15 years and was located at 3173 Wilson Blvd — where Spider Kelly’s is now — for 15 or so years before that.
“Arlington has changed dramatically in those 30 years,” Griffiths said via email. “I applaud Arlington’s growth and prosperity, but it came with a price, what with the increased parking issues, drunk patrons from the neighboring bars puking in our front door foyer, the broken beer bottles in the back no-man’s zone created by the development of Market Common, the bar crawls, etc.”
Griffith said the building was sold and he was given a move-out date of Jan. 31, 2016 with no hope of a lease renewal.
“I started looking around Arlington for a space that would work for my business,” he said. “I could not find anything, so I decided to make the move to Asheville, NC, buying a building in its thriving downtown area.”
Because A&R was able to keep its phone numbers, email address and website, Griffith says he’s still serving his local Arlington customer base.
“We just miss seeing their familiar faces,” he wrote. “Arlington will always have a special place in my heart as many good and loving years were spent there. I feel that I did not leave Arlington, as much as Arlington left me. There really are few opportunities for a small, family-owned business to exist in Arlington nowadays. I join a growing list of favorites that I have seen had to close or move out over the years.”
“Another piece of old Clarendon gone,” echoed a tipster who emailed ARLnow.com about A&R’s closure.
Public records indicate that the 2836 Wilson Blvd building was sold to Market Common Clarendon owner TIAA-CREF in 2013 for $625,000. TIAA-CREF also owns the adjacent building that houses IOTA Club and Cafe.