A fragment of the 1960s will begin fading in the next couple of weeks when the well-known Abextra closes.
But even with merchandise marked at 30 and 40 percent off, there seems to be little demand for the psychedelic-era paraphernalia. No one these days wants posters, hip jewelry, black lights, bumper stickers, patches, incense and pipes.
Years ago, however, the Abextra was a haven for those caught up in the love and peace movement. Crammed elbow to elbow, they sorted through love beads and rock posters while Frank Zappa music vibrated through the store and the undeniable scent of incense lingered in the air.
But those days are gone.
"It's time to give it up," said Tim, who likes to be referred to by his first name only.
"People aren't into posters, psychedelic lights, groovey gifts or pipes."
The 30-year-old owner, his straight, blond hair almost touching his shoulders, was casually clad in a t-shirt and shorts. He said he doesn't know what the "in" thing is now. He only knows what it isn't.
"It's kind of sad," he said. "You come here for a whole day and at closing time the cash register says only $10 or $15."
The Abextra first opened in 1964 at NW 6 and Classen and was an immediate success.
When the novelty store came up for sale nine years ago, Tim bought it "out of sentimentality."
But he was forced to seek another location three years ago when the building was sold. Business hasn't been the same since.
"Things have been going downhill ever since we lost the main downtown store," he said.
The store was moved to several sites before it reopened at 3520 Newcastle Road a year and a half ago. The Abextra is now in a strip shopping center sandwiched between an adult bookstore and a liquor store.
"We couldn't get a location any place else," Tim said, adding that several people feel animosity toward the Abextra name.
Tim said he's not happy about selling the Abextra. A mall location might do better, but that's not really feasible, he said.
He even considered turning the Abextra into a first-rate poster shop. "I wanted the posters to really go. But they don't sell."
Maybe it's the economy, he said, absently pulling out rolled-up posters now turned yellow with age.
The posters that wouldn't sell at $4 or $5 each are now being sold for 50 cents and given away with each $5 purchase.
"I'm liquidating the store for what I can get. I know I'm going to take a loss."
But he still holds out hope that someone who's sentimental to the Abextra will come along and buy it, just like he did nine years ago. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 136174