LISTEN to WBUR's Lisa Mullins of Arlington: Five-and-dime closing

4 generations of the balich familyThree Balich generations: Antoun and Gloria stand in
front of Reed and Joseph in 2012.

UPDATED, June 22: With summer here, Balich 5 + 10 will be no more.

The Heights store where it seems you could buy anything nearly pocket-sized since 1954 will be out of business. Owner Joe Balich, 65, is retiring.

Behind the counter ringing up a stream of customers on Tuesday, May 8 -- the day his closing sale began -- he generously described the job he has done since 1984. "I loved it," he said, adding that he "never had a day when he didn't like coming to work."

Well, maybe a couple of days.

As a customer wished him well, the Bedford resident said he and his wife may travel, or he may just enjoy himself.

Balich has managed the potpourri of this-and-that since 1992, after he took over from his father, who launched the store in 1972. He began working for his dad 12 years after that.

The location has been a 5-and-10 since 1954, when Hudson's came in. Before that, it was Wanamaker's Hardware, still in the neighborhood.

Unlike other locations in town that have seen rising rents, his has remained stable and was not a factor in his retiring.

Out front, under the STORE CLOSING sign, signs on the front windows say "25% off - all sales final."

Squads of young girls, smiling through their braces, were buying small items.

Facebook annoucement

For such an old-school store, the closing announcement was posted somewhat au currant, on Facebook in May 7 >> 

"To My Loyal Friends, Customers and Facebook Followers:

"After three owners spanning sixty-four years, Balich 5 & 10 will permanently be closing its doors. I am retiring, and while I am excited to begin this new journey, it is with a great deal of sadness and nostalgia that I make this announcement.

"Since 1992, I’ve had the pleasure of operating this wonderful community establishment by serving and getting to know my many customers and friends during this time. Although it was a difficult decision, I do want to take this opportunity to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your loyal patronage and support over the years.

"Please stop by and enjoy outstanding savings during our store closing sale, which begins May 8. Also, I would love the opportunity to thank you personally and to say goodbye!

"With sincere appreciation,

"Joe Balich"

A day later, customers did just that -- in the place that invites you to 'step back into time and browse over 20,000 items on original glass and wood fixtures!"

The latest word, reported on social media, is that the store plans to close Saturday, June 23, extended from Friday, June 8.

Globe, June 22, 2918: Arlington’s five-and-dime shop to close; patrons bid bittersweet goodbye

Aug. 21, 2012: As 5-and-10s fade, Balich endures in Heights 

This news summary was published on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, and updated June 22, to add links.