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ACME's last customers get a bargain they never expected

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Friday, March 29, 2013

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An antique gas can shows its label, 113, preceding the auction at ACME General Store.

Jim Fair

An antique gas can shows its label, 113, preceding the auction at ACME General Store.



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Dennis Howell, sitting, was assigned to handle the auction at ACME. He works at Wild Ace Pizza.

Jim Fair

Dennis Howell, sitting, was assigned to handle the auction at ACME. He works at Wild Ace Pizza.



Enlarge photo

ACME opened with much fanfair a month short of four years ago. Its closing followed a resurgence of shops and restaurants that that was helped by the general store's prescence.

Jim Fair

ACME opened with much fanfair a month short of four years ago. Its closing followed a resurgence of shops and restaurants that that was helped by the general store's prescence.

ACME General Store closed its doors and turned out the lights to the public for the final time Wednesday.

Remaining merchandise and equipment were moved to the bottom floor for an auction that would bring about one-quarter of the retail price. Clothing, shoes, games and toys, candy and store equipment mostly remained.

“I’m tired and sad at the same time,” said Denise VandenBerghe, co-owner and the impetus behind the general store concept in Greer. Too little foot traffic and not enough sales forced VandenBerghe, her husband, Chris, and partners to close.

“This (auction) is like something we do, getting a fraction on the dollar of our investment,” Chris VandenBerghe said.

The VandenBerghes own the wildly popular Wild Ace Pizza and will open a restaurant in mid-April in downtown Spartanburg of the same concept.

Daniel Howell, an employee at Wild Ace Pizza, conducted the auction. “It’s my first time doing an auction but it should be fun. At least that’s the plan,” Howell said.

During the final hour before the auction, visitors were allowed to peruse the merchandise. Denise found it more to her liking to assist customers and told them to find what they liked, “put it in a pile and make me an offer.”

By Thursday afternoon a truck hauled off virtually the remaining merchandise and the store went dark.

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