COLUMBIA — At Cool Stuff you can find an Indonesian bicycle rickshaw, Indian silver temples, an African wood-and-leather drum – you name it, Cool Stuff has it.
Cool Stuff, at 808 E. Broadway, has a 23-year history in downtown Columbia and has grown to offer novelty items from more than 50 countries.
Owner Arnie Fagan received a proclamation Wednesday from Mayor Bob McDavid.
McDavid said the proclamation came in response to a request from Fagan. "It's been an icon for downtown Columbia over the years," McDavid said.
The proclamation, posted in Cool Stuff's window, reads:
"Whereas, Cool Stuff has fostered an appreciation for various cultures, lands, artwork, music and handicrafts ..."
"Whereas, Arnie Fagan has participated in downtown Columbia leadership for 23 years ..."
"Now, therefore, I, Mayor Robert McDavid, Mayor of the City of Columbia, Missouri, do hereby proclaim August 28, 2011 as Cool Stuff Day."
Fagan said he was honored. "It’s like a pat on the back.”
Since opening business in 1988, Fagan said he has witnessed “positive change” in the business environment in downtown Columbia. Fagan wanted his store to contribute.
“My idea was to provide a place for people to flock to,” he said.
Jill Wade, a customer at Cool Stuff on Friday, remembered coming to Cool Stuff about 20 years ago at its previous location and making a beaded necklace. Now she comes every couple of months with her husband and children.
“We’ve got eraser puzzles for our kids. They love it here,” she said as she watched her son try on a cowboy hat. “We just play with it.”
Tim and Janelle Kephart were also customers Friday.
“It is a cool little niche store,” Tim Kephart said, “and it is a good part of the town to drop by.”
“There are hundreds of small businesses in Columbia,” Fagan said, adding that he hopes the mayor will honor others that have made a significant contribution downtown.
McDavid said he will consider honoring other businesses on a "case-by-case" basis.
“Cool Stuff Day is not about one day,” Fagan said. “It is about history. The celebration is to honor the great people who have worked or went through Cool Stuff over the years.”