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February  16

There's Something About Mary

Img_7622Flannery's Corner art supply store, at Watchung Plaza,  sadly closed its venerable doors yesterday. Artist/owner Mary Flannery decided to retire after 31 years of owning a shop that has been a fixture in the community, and where she supplied artistic guidance and materials for two generations. “My twenty-something  customers, who have been coming since they were little, are coming into the store and crying.  My younger clients, whom I have helped with their art projects, are upset at me,” she told Baristanet. “ I am just going through the motions, it’s like a dream,” she told customers yesterday who came in to say goodbye.

Art_3Mary claims to be the youngest person to ever open a business in Montclair. She was 21 when she opened her shop in 1975 with only $5,000.  She remembered back then, the shops were a lot different. “There was a butcher, a bakery, and the S&H Green Stamp Redemption Store across the street.”  A single mom, she is proud of her accomplishments, like raising her kids Dante and Paulina.  And the massive doll house she built, familiar to so many kids and which occupied a center spot in her store, was raffled off and won by one lucky 9-year-old girl.  “I wanted it to stay in Montclair.”

Mary, born and raised in Montclair, and the fourth of twelve kids, leaves today for St. Petersburg, Florida, and is happy about starting a new chapter of her life, with plans to marry – her girlfriend - after 20 years on her own. About closing her art supply store, she told Barista, “I had a buyer at one point to take over my store, but at the last minute, the person got cold feet. All I know now is that the new store will be home décor."  Mary will be back in town on February 25 to clean out the store – maybe your last chance to bid a fond farewell.  Bon Voyage, Mary, from Baristaville.

February 16, 2006 in Goodbyes | Permalink


I'm surprised Bill Clinton wasn't blamed for the store's closing.

Posted by: The Iceman | Feb 16, 2006 9:01:40 AM

Wow, first Bradner's, now Flannery's. My childhood is disappearing fast.

Mary, thank you so much for all the wonderful things you helped us create!

Posted by: State Street Pete | Feb 16, 2006 9:19:15 AM

I was a frequent customer in the 80's when I was a fine arts major at MSU. I'm sorry to hear that Flannery's is closing. Best wishes, Mary.

Posted by: beag96 | Feb 16, 2006 10:24:33 AM

Best wishes for the future but it's sad that you're closing. The personal service can't be replicated at larger stores. Cheers.

Posted by: Krys O. | Feb 16, 2006 11:12:19 AM

A heartfelt ditto to Krys O.'s comments.

Posted by: Mujer en Fuego | Feb 16, 2006 11:13:10 AM

This is a real loss to the community.

Thanks for your years of bringing art (supplies) to Montclair.

Wish ya could hang around for another 31 years or longer like a fine work of art!

Posted by: Franklin | Feb 16, 2006 3:18:43 PM

My art oriented daughter bought a good deal of her art supplies at Flannery's.

Mary always offered personal service and a smile.

We'll miss you Mary, best of luck in your next chapter and congratulations on your wedding plans!

Posted by: Pam | Feb 16, 2006 3:48:20 PM

Nice story, Barista. I love that store, though I'm not the most frequent of customers. Love the pic of the presumably 21-year-old Flannery (with 70s-style gorgeous long hair) working on the shop. Do things always have to change? I guess so. Good luck, Flannery. Happy Trails.

Posted by: walleroo | Feb 16, 2006 4:04:14 PM

When I drove by with my mom and I saw the sign that she was closing, I couldn't believe it. I always remember going in there and getting stuff for my projects for school. I loved that dollhouse.

State Street, hate to burst your bubble further, but Toys In The Attic is also gone.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 16, 2006 5:41:17 PM

The Open Door Bookstore in the background of the picture, more nostalgia!

Posted by: PAZ (AMiL) | Feb 16, 2006 5:59:16 PM

I've walked by the store twice at day, at least, for the past 6 years and, while an infrequent customer, will be sorry to see it go. As a relatively recent transplant, it always seemed to hearken back to a smaller town Montclair that I have largely missed. A small local shop with a smiling face behind it. And what better for Montclair, a town that prides itself on its artistic sensibilities. Juxtapose all this with the much excited arrival of Urban Outfitters. Yeah, just try to speak with the manager of Urban Outfitters it you have some kind of an issue. They'll probably give you a toll free number for the home office in Ohio. Oh well.

Change sometimes sucks, but she seems happy to start the next chapter of her life and I say good luck with everything.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Feb 17, 2006 8:58:54 AM

My boyfriend and I were talking last night about his Flannery's Corner experiences. He first moved to Montclair from Nashville in 1978 and lived on Park Street. He's an artist as well as a musician and was so pleased to have an art store around the corner. Over the years, he'd get his supplies from Mary for his hand-designed cassettes. A cottage industry patronizing another. It really is an end of an era for Watchung Plaza.

Posted by: Krys O. | Feb 17, 2006 10:12:49 AM

mary, i was a good friend of your brother, andy. we visited you at the store often while in high school. best wishes for your exciting future plans. i know you will be missed greatly in the montclair community, especially. regards to andy for me, too.

Posted by: rc | Feb 22, 2006 10:29:24 AM

Mary!!!I always thought that you were a lesbian, by your behavior and now that it is certain. I wish you the best thing in your new marriage. Finally you came out of the closet and you make unhappy all the time your kids and the italian-ecuadorian Oscar your ex-husband which is a good man, good friend and good father and I feel sorry for him that I found this website with this information about you and this is a shame and it is disgraful. Bon Voyage towards hell.

Posted by: shame on you | Jun 15, 2006 7:09:40 PM

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