BERKLEY (WWJ) – After 70 years in business, The Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop in Berkley is will close its doors for good.

Expressing their disappointment in person and online, many local residents, including Dave DePetro, described the store as a mainstay in the Detroit suburb.

“It’s been a fixture in the community for many, many years, and it’s going to be sad to see that one go,” he told WWJ’s Mike Campbell, adding that he was just as bummed to see a pizza shop close right down the street.  “Yeah, Berkley’s getting a new look and hopefully it’s going to replace what was there.”

A letter at the main entrance says the Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop — located on 12 Mile Road, east of Greenfield — has been in Berkley since 1948.

The letter states that an invite-only liquidation sale for loyal customers will begin this Thursday; and a public “Retirement Sale” next Thursday. No actual closing date is given.

A post on the store’s Facebook page attributes the closing in part to competition from online retailers.

“This is a sad day for the entire Doll Hospital family, but as some folks may have heard and began posting, we are going to be closing up shop. The reality was that the pressures of online retail finally got to us… despite twenty years of working hard to adapt. We outlasted a whole string of larger companies, and we’re proud of that,” the post reads.

“We truly feel honored to have served you and your families for 70 years. We will miss the excitement, joy and wonder, seen through the eyes of a child when visiting The Doll Hospital. Our closing and liquidation sale that begins this Thursday at 10:00 am is initiated only after careful consideration. We are privileged to have been a part of the wonderful Berkley community since 1948 and thank you for your business and friendship over the years! “

As of Tuesday afternoon, the post had close to 1,500 responses.

Janet Kubiak Wieczorek replied: “I’m so sad to hear this. I wish people would consider how important neighborhood shops are, and make a conscious decision to make the effort to shop regularly in those shops.”

Several commenters looked back on having their dolls “treated” there.

Debbie Indenbaum Hitsky wrote: “I have a very personal memory dating back to the year I was a first grader and was laid up for weeks. My favorite doll Kathy needed a new hairdo and one of her arms had fallen off. My parents took it to the Doll Hospital and presto! She was like new. I still have Kathy who by now is an antique like her mom!”

[Visit www.dollhospital.com for sale updates and morel information.]

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