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Death of Yesterday's Rose a Mystery

Store reopens temporarily to sell donated items left behind, but few clues remain as to why shop shut its doors

Customers and local business owners were shocked when announced its intent to close on its website on June 21.

Many didn't realize the long-lived thrift store was truly done until after it broke its 10-year lease and employees left for good at 5 p.m. June 24.

A week and a half later, there aren't many more answers to some of the questions echoed by locals and longtime customers: Why did a 30-year old thrift store staple close? Why wasn't there more warning or an effort to save it?

Commenters on Patch and other online forums, along with some loyal customers, blame Fairfax City officials for the store's demise. Others point to a lack of Rose marketing and the opening of Goodwill in its old location at Main Street Center strip. Then there are those who criticize parking in the downtown.

"I will sorely miss the Rose - I got a lot of good deals there, and the staff was like family," wrote Judy Rudek on . for more comments. "Admittedly, the new location's layout was a bit awkward, but there was always a great selection of things to peruse when I stopped by."

Yesterday's Rose began in 1982 at the suggestion of the Northern Virginia Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, according to the store's old website. It was run by four charities.

There's no way to be sure why the Rose closed without speaking with the store's board members, who ran and made decisions about the store and divided the proceeds among the organizations they represent.

The board members did not return several requests for comment or information, so I visited the store in hopes of finding some clues as to the Rose's demise.

Instead, I found confusion.

The store was crammed with unsold goods — racks upon on racks of donated clothing, lightly used wedding dresses still tacked to the wall. Trinkets and oddities covered shelves throughout the shop. The basement was filed with books and records and various other donated items, as well as large piles of unsorted donated goods.

A half-eaten birthday cake sat in the employee lounge, plastic utensils strewn about it as though people still intended to finish when they heard the call to close up. Half-finished and empty soda and juice bottles were forgotten among the donated goods.

Landlord Marilynn Livingston was rushing to clean the store. She'd swept large tufts of lint and dust from under the clothing racks and tried to put things in order. 

She reopened the store at 10 a.m. Monday. Everything in the Rose, including the shelves and display cases, is for sale. Livingston hopes to sell most of the items the Rose left behind to prepare for her next tenant.

"I think all will be very pleasantly surprised to find out how much more spacious, organized and clean things are now," Livingston said. "It should make for a fun and easy shopping experience. Plus we will have a friendly staff of familiar faces that were in that location before Yesterday's Rose. There will be no overpriced items like before. Prices will be posted to make things easy."

So far Victorian Square, the central downtown location at the corner of Main Street and University Drive, has received interest from businesses. Rick Dickson of the Dickson Company, who manages several properties in that area, said he's had inquiries from a custom framer, an interior designer and an upscale salon. The location could be used as office space as well.

The large space boasts two floors, an elevator and a special delivery area hidden in the back. Livingston and Dickson are confident they can draw another tenant to that location.

Drop by the old Yesterday's Rose location at 10389 Main Street to catch the sale. There is free parking next door and in the garage on Chain Bridge Road. The store will be closed on July 4, but will reopen and continue until most items are sold.

My name it means nuthin July 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Ms. Livingston is right. The stuff is cheap and despite the fact I've pawed through the stuff before, I found some excellent buys I hadn't previously noticed the other day. Expect the place to be open for a few weeks or until another tenant is ready to move in, and I hope maybe some additional stuff will finds it way in. It's worth the visit and the staff is nice.
bob worthington July 10, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Still find baffling why Yesterday's Rose would suddenly shut down like that after all these years and then leave so many donated items behind when they left. Did they not even consider donating the items to another charity in the city? Just curious, was Yesterday's Rose sub leasing that building from the previous long time fabric store that had been in that location? Many, many years ago was that building the original showroom for Jim McKay Chevrolet?
Kirsten Boyd July 10, 2012 at 06:39 PM
its because there was no parking near their new store!!
Whitney Rhodes (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 06:57 PM
There's parking right next door to the Rose.
Sharon Chang July 31, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Right outside the back door of the former Yesterday's Rose there's a good-sized free parking lot!

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