It's official — housewares store auto. in the Meatpacking District has closed. Though the closing was alluded to in a New York Times article a few weeks ago, a farewell letter from owners Roman Luba and Renata Bokalo made it official…
You can see the space in Auto: Living Above the Store. Though the Meatpacking District has changed more than any other nabe, we were pleased that the auto. owners included this quote in their farewell — it's one of our favorites:
"We are reluctant and saddened to close but we know we must embrace change and what lies ahead. As our former neighbor Florent Morellet said, 'New York is the city of changes. People forget this is what they love about it.' As of now we have no future plans to reopen either the store or the website but we promise to keep you informed of our whereabouts should this change."
We are writing to let you know that auto has closed. The cost of doing business in New York and the current economic climate has forced us reluctantly into this decision.
We've worked so hard over the last decade to build the kind of business that we could be tremendously proud of. And we have been. We were surprised and excited to become pioneers in the meatpacking district 10 years ago with our "lifestyle" storefront showroom where we represented 5 NYC based designers. We quickly became a retail laboratory for emerging talent of all design categories — jewelry, home, bedding, baby, art, books and gifts. We took pride in our "modern mom and pop shop" that championed small business ideals. It wasn't always easy and we didn't always know what we were doing but we grew slowly and organically from our brick and mortar store to our website, from one store to two.
Auto, the mini department store, brought a thoughtfully edited collection of wares to design-savvy customers around the world. And we had the best customers! It was a pleasure curating retail experiences for them, especially our infamous yard sales in our lovely garden. We loved growing and collaborating with our amazing and stimulating designers, launching lines and hosting events. We also enjoyed growing with our neighborhood and being founding members of the Meatpacking District Initiative. The meatpacking district is virtually unrecognizable from when we first opened our doors and we are so proud to be a small part of the area's more recent renaissance.
We will miss our auto family more than we can say. To all our designers, customers, neighbors, editors, bloggers, UPS Jorge and USPS Sofie, Lucy and Edie's friends and our beloved and loyal staff words simply cannot express the love and gratitude we feel for you and all those who supported us in numerous ways all these years.
We are reluctant and saddened to close but we know we must embrace change and what lies ahead. As our former neighbor Florent Morellet said, 'New York is the city of changes. People forget this is what they love about it.' As of now we have no future plans to reopen either the store or the website but we promise to keep you informed of our whereabouts should this change.
Our two beautiful spaces are available for rent. Please contact our landlord, Darryl Romanoff at 212 924 2973 for more information.
We urge you to continue to patronize small businesses. They need you more than ever right now.
Much love and peace,
Renata and Roman