Customers thronged to Los Altos Card & Party last week, but for a bittersweet reason – owner Debra Schlueter announced that the store will close Sunday and has put her entire stock on sale.
Objects are reduced 25 percent storewide and invitations discounted 75 percent.
As local shoppers browsed the cards, stationery and trinkets packed into the slender storefront at 253 State St., many chatted with Schlueter about her children and reminisced about their 34-year-old histories with the shop.
Schlueter said she’s the fourth owner to preside over the business and that times had changed too much for her paper-based specialty shop to stay afloat.
“Business is hard mainly for the invitation part of it – they’ve gone the way of evites and Shutterfly. The Internet has changed a lot,” she said.
But she still believes in the fundamentals of the physical business.
“That piece of paper you get in the mail, that card, it means something – more than what you get on the computer,” she added.
Schlueter doesn’t know what she’ll do for work after the store closes, but she’ll look for opportunities in Los Altos “so I can stay in the community.”
“I will definitely miss the customer part of it, this part I love – and the people watching my kids grow up. It’s such a great community,” she said.
Schlueter’s children, both under 4, spent most days in the store with their mom. Over the years, she’s developed a community of friends among her customers, but she acknowledged an element of relief amid the regret at leaving State Street.
“It’s a changing world, it’s the right time,” she said. “A little weight’s been lifted off.”