COLUMBIA — After 23 years in operation, Cool Stuff is permanently closing its retail location and moving into a virtual home online.
Rally House, which sells sporting gear and team apparel, will soon occupy the space that currently houses Hot Box Cookies, a late-night, fresh cookie bakery at 808-B E. Broadway, and Cool Stuff, an exotic products and trinket store at 808 E. Broadway.
Arnie Fagan, who owns both the building and trinket store and co-owns the bakery, said he and Rally House “very recently” signed the lease agreement that will take effect in May.
Paraphrasing “The Godfather,” Fagan said Rally House “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So, I didn’t.” The sports-themed apparel business approached Fagan about its need for a space to expand its operations.
"I think it'll end up being a very good thing for them and a very good thing for me," he said. "You have to make decisions every day as to what's going to be better and worse in which situation."
Cool Stuff will need to be out of its space in April and Hot Box Cookies by mid-May.
The trinket store will continue to run its store closing sale through April and sell items from Fagan’s personal collection such as a "Yin Yang pendant" that had once been requested by a customer. Fagan plans to create a website called www.coolstuffland.com where people can share stories of their experiences with the store.
"There are so many stories like that that I really want to share with the community and with the world," he said.
The website will also showcase photos from patrons and recorded music that has been played in front of the store throughout the years. Fagan said he plans to sell only a few one-of-a-kind products and unique art on the website.
Next door, Corey Rimmel opened Hot Box Cookies with two other partners in 2008. Fagan said he became its co-owner in January 2011, when it wasn’t faring well economically.
Rimmel said their business partnership was dissolved sometime in the past week.
A deal is in the works for the bakery's new location in Columbia, and Rimmel said he plans to reopen sometime during summer.
"I plan on making Hot Box Cookies into an extremely successful business," he said. "There will be a lot of changes. It's still the same name and still the same recipe."
Rally House hopes to open in July after renovating the building and combining the two separate spaces into a single unit, Fagan said. “This is a historic building, and they’re going to be making some really positive changes to fix it up and bring it to the next level.”