HUDSON — After 41 years in business, Land of Make Believe will close its doors Sunday.

Owner Richard Harrison, 52, said he’s shuttering the business due to health issues. The Harrisons were the third family to own the store, which moved from its original location at 134 N. Main St. to its current location at 90 S. Main St.

A former schoolteacher, Harrison said he’s always liked working with children. He said he is going to miss his customers, many of whom first came into the store as children and now bring in their own offspring.

“It’s been pretty upsetting,” Harrison said about having to close. “I thought I’d be able to keep going with this.”

He said he has a lot of memories of the young people who have come through his doors. Land of Make Believe used to host Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon card tournaments in the basement. Some kids came in the morning and didn’t leave until closing time.

“I always tried to make it a fun and lively place,” he said, adding he has often demonstrated how to play games. Many times people have asked him to help get them started after they’ve made a purchase.

Harrison said he’s been receiving a lot of messages on Facebook from people who have told him how much his store has meant to them over the years. A few months ago, a man in his 20s came into the store and told him when he was a boy he was in the store and bet Harrison $100 he couldn’t do a certain magic trick, and Harrison did it.

“Then he handed me an envelope and walked away,” Harrison said. “I have the envelope on the door. It says something along the line of, ‘To repay an old debt.’ I opened it up and there was $100 in there ... You get people who remember, come back and do little acts of kindness.”

Harrison said he’s met a lot of nice people over the years.

“I know people who work in corporate stores who complain about their customers being grouchy, but here everyone is so pleasant, even during the Christmas season," he said.

Harrison said he’s always tried to make a positive impact.

“Running a toy store, I always felt I was contributing something positive to the world ... always creating good memories for people and families. I’m sure in that 20 years I’ve done something to make the world a little bit better place and people’s lives a little more joyful.”

Land of Make Believe will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Toys and games will be marked down 50 percent, and shelves and other fixtures will be available for purchase.

 

Steve Wiandt can be reached at 330-541-9420, swiandt@recordpub.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.