I walk by this place all the time. It’s an old luggage store on Clematis Street that has been there since forever. You know the kind of place—every city has one. A store that has outlived the times, been there forever, has never changed, and never will. A store that has a story, character, and charm. The owners are the original ones (or their children who have aged), nothing has changed in these places (except perhaps the odd lightbulb) since the early sixties, nothing ever will change, and there are piles of junk, old merchandise, kitchy stuff, ugly stuff, and a few gems in every dark corner. In any case needing a case for my MacBook, and happening to walk by, we thought “why not” and stumbled in. Richard Meyers was sitting in a chair next to the door with his walker beside him. Another very old lady (I think his wife) was at the cash halfway down on the left. She never smiled or looked at a customer. He got up and we told him what we were looking for and he led us very slowly to the back of the store. To Richard, every piece of luggage had a story and he went on about meeting various luggage reps in 1954 and his advice to them on marketing, the golden age of travel when people used trunks instead of suitcases, luggage conventions in Miami, the state of the Polish luggage industry today, communism and all about the good old days. I am sure he gave the same line to every 2 or 3 people who ever walked in his store each day. He ranted about crime in West Palm Beach, the murder rate, the number of sleazy nightclubs on Clematis Street, and anything else that came into his head. In any case, even though it was one of “those” stores, he had some pretty good stuff and it was easy to find a laptop case that we liked.
I have decided to do a series of photos about shopkeepers in South Florida. Since Sharon is a compulsive shopper, we end up in a lot of places and I usually end up taking pictures of the owners. The owners are also quite a collection of characters and that is what makes it so interesting.