Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Lynae Folks and her husband Danny Parodi will close their Burlingame engraving business after the site's property owner raises rent.
After 33 years in business, a local engraving store is shutting its doors due to rising rent costs.
The Personal Touch of Burlingame will be closing in January 2014, after finding a final Burlingame home at 257 Primrose Road for 18 years. Its previous location was at Burlingame Avenue and Park Road. Lynae Folks first opened the store in 1981 and weathered three floods, two fires, earthquake retrofitting and other challenges over the years. Folks and her husband, and co-owner, Danny Parodi made the decision to close two weeks ago after failed negotiations with their landlord.
“We pleaded with the landlord, but they keep raising rents,” said Folks, who lives in San Carlos. “We paid top dollar and had no air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. A client just came in and said what everyone is saying, ‘It’s sad to see so many small businesses leave Burlingame.’”
This disappearance of small businesses concerns her since they are the first who support the community through donations since the chain stores have to go through corporate offices, she said. Her store delivers packages after closing times and knows customers by name, she added. Country clubs in the area would also use her engravings for their logos.
“We have gotten to know clients over the last 33 years,” she said. “Children used to sit on the floor and play with our dog (Star Baby). They were not just clients, they were family. You don’t get that in a big store.”
Folks and Parodi recently wrote a letter to their clients informing them of the shutdown.
“Our clients have allowed us to be part of their celebrations, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays and family additions,” they wrote. “The wonderful stories that our clients shared with us over the years were cherished. The clients that were small children who came shopping with their parents now come shopping with their children.”
She said she opened the store in Burlingame originally because it used to be known for small stores.
“I joke that they wouldn’t find your body for three weeks in Macy’s,” she said. “Burlingame used to be called the Village. It’s not a village anymore, it’s a shopping center.”
Business will move to online sales of its specialties, which are classic and contemporary engraved gifts such as photo albums, jewelry, pens, baby gifts and other items once December wraps up. She and Parodi are also looking for an offsite location to store goods they will sell online. They are also exploring looking for a new location.
What will Folks do with the extra time she’ll have when the store closes?
“I have no idea,” she said. “It’s a new chapter. This is what I’ve done for 33 years, six days a week. I put every single thing in this store: it’s my blood, it’s my heart, it’s my soul.”
Things have changed since Folks first started doing business though. She recalls people who came into the shop and assumed she wasn’t the owner because she was a woman and having to bring her husband to business meetings since she wasn’t always taken as seriously.
Closing sale deals range from 25 percent to 75 percent off, with brands including Reed & Barton, Rogaska Crystal, Lunt, Cross, Colibri, Movado and Vera Wang. Visit peronaltouchgiftshop.com for more information on their products.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105