Dolls hospital in Dublin to close

Fri, Feb 3, 2012, 00:00

When closing for good, few stores have been known to receive thank you cards and teddy bears.

But then again, few stores are as beloved as The Doll Store on George’s Street, Dublin, home of the Dolls Hospital and Teddybear Clinic, that is due to close tomorrow due to the costs associated with its current location.

The store has received a veritable whirlwind of well-wishes from doll enthusiasts and return customers alike, rushing in for last-minute maintenance to ensure the well-being of treasured possessions.

Sitting above her shop on Georges Street, Melissa Nolan holds a small box in one hand and reads an accompanying letter out loud. “Thank you so much for all the years you let me enjoy the shop. It is with great sadness that I hear you are closing.”

After a few moments, she unfastens the tape holding the box closed. Inside is a charm shaped like a teddy bear. “That is so lovely. That’s what we’re getting,” Ms Nolan said.

The deluge of good wishes has been nonstop since The Doll Store announced it would be closing tomorrow due to financial reasons.

The store has been a mainstay on this stretch of road since the 1930s, and Ms Nolan has been the owner for the last 28 years. Putting her doll making skills to good use, she also began a doll hospital and teddy bear repair clinic, where she has helped keep Dublin’s much loved toys and heirlooms in tip-top shape.

The closure is a hard blow for her customers, some who have frequented the shop their entire lives. The Doll Store is one of the few left of its kind, offering repairs as well as custom dollhouses, clothing and miniatures.

Clients have been arriving from all over the country hoping to make one last order before the store closes its doors for good. But the Nolans remain hopeful that another more affordable location may soon become available.

“Nothing’s materialised yet. We have about eight [offers] at the minute; more came in today we didn’t have a look at. We haven’t had time. We made a few appointments for next week to see if there’s anything,” said Chris Nolan, Melissa’s husband.

The Nolans are very particular about what might suit them - somewhere with enough space for spare parts, repairs, and perhaps even a museum. “We have a definite feeling, of course, that nobody wants us to leave. It’s very heartening,” Mr Nolan said.

One of the few remaining shops of its kind, the store not only repaired dolls and damaged bears but it also created custom dolls’ houses modelled on the client’s home, replete with replica miniature furniture.

While Ms Nolan, who trained as a doll-maker, has owned the premises for 28 years, there has been a doll store on the street since the 1930s when it was set up by two Lithuanian brothers.

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