The End of Taylor Gifts
Today is the anniversary of my last visit to Taylor Gifts. I only reminisce because it is the location where my video adventuring began and in a way, I do miss it somedays. I mostly miss the company of the Duke of The Warehouse, Lovely Liza, Hungry Steve, Laura my Camerawoman, and No Fun Ben. I did not miss the circa 1980’s software used to manage the inventory or the late 90’s style website that took 24 hours to finally update.
First, some background. I departed Taylor Gifts on April 1st 2016 to start a new adventure. I kept in touch with the folks there to see how things were going. In the months leading up to my departure, things weren’t going very well it seemed. There were a lot of rumors about the company moving elsewhere, folding into another company, or operations being split up somewhat. What was not be seriously discussed was an all-out bankruptcy. Despite the reassurances, I decided to strike out on my own elsewhere. After my departure, I heard things still weren’t going very well. No one would really get into it with me about what was going on, but there was definitely a stressed melancholy.
I decided to swing by and say hello on Thursday, April 21st to say hello to people. Pulling up, things already kind of looked off. None of the upper management was in the parking lot. There was always usually one of them there, but absolutely no one was parked in the lot. The backdoor, which was normally locked tight, was propped open. It was there that I ran into the Duke of The Warehouse who was very happy to see me. What was a very bustling warehouse was by in large quiet. I asked what was going on and the Duke just sort of gave me a shrug. The warehouse was just of shuffling around killing time. “Well this doesn’t look good,” I said silently to myself.
Entering the office part of Taylor Gifts, it was a combination of resignation and hurried panic. Parts of the office was busy filling up large trashcans of stuff. They were tossing out tons of stuff like old catalogs. I half expected there to be small fires in the hallways and a helicopter to land on the roof to evacuate upper management. It reminded me a bit of the evacuation of US Embassy of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. I wasn’t too terribly curious to see what they were throwing out, I didn’t want to be pulled too much into things here. Everyone was very happy to see me but also equally happy that I had gotten out before things had gotten to this. While no one would tell me via text or email how things were going, it was clear they were expecting to wrap up operations soon.
It sounded like the secret was out also. None of the vendors were returning their phone calls and the ones that were calling were apparently wanting to know when they would be paid. Things were not looking good. Some folks were feverishly saving business contacts to USB drives to hit them up later for jobs. Others were just sitting with their feet up eating donuts waiting for the end to come. My old department was waiting with just sort a of bemused looks on their faces. No one knew what was going on but they all had an idea. Everyone had plenty of work to do, especially since I had not been replaced yet. However, no one was really working. No one saw the point to it. My final stop was with someone who had his ear to the ground to what was going on. This person filled me in how some folks were desperately trying to get loans to prop the place up while others seemed to be trying to push the company off the edge. I’m not going to name names here, but I wasn’t surprised who was trying to keep things going and who was trying to pull the plug. It was a real shame however. The owners were going to be fine financially from what I understood, but there were a lot of people who were going to be hurt by this closure.
While my visit was just a couple of hours, I made a point to say goodbye to everyone who was there. I wasn’t sure when I’d be back again. Mostly everyone thought they’d be there for a little while longer. Most were hoping at worst they’d be moving to a different facility after closing for a week. The Duke of The Warehouse was less than optimistic.
Before I left, Hungry Steve gifted me his most prized possession. He wore it every X-mas eve at Taylor Gifts. It’s something else.
I left at 3 pm on that Thursday.
Taylor Gifts officially suspended operations the following day at about 1 pm.
A part of me was glad that I had gotten a new job before they shuttered. Although that job didn’t exactly work out, it did last for a few more weeks than employment at Taylor Gifts would have. However, a part of me would have enjoyed doing “live” broadcasts of the closure. Something tells me upper management would not have appreciated it, but…. Hey, what could they have done?
Do I still keep in touch with folks? Sure do. Do I drive by Taylor Gifts every now and again and see what’s going on there? Yep. Is the place haunted? Probably.
Shortly after finishing writing this I received a flurry of updates. It’s only appropriate that I leave the updates here.
The Taylor Gifts domain (www.taylorgifts.com) redirects now to Collections Ect., who bought the intellectual property of Taylor Gifts. Alas they have not hired me to do product demo videos for them. I’m available ladies and gents! However, they seem to be a very reputable company that will certainly do the Taylor Gifts name proud.
As for the abandoned Taylor Gifts HQ in Paoli, PA it won’t be haunted by ghosts for too much longer. The fine folks at Turn 5 have decided to expand their operations and move into the facility. As mentioned in this Philly.com article, their new Headquarters will have video studios, product development lab, a bowling lane, and a fully stocked bar.
Not to sound jealous, but I wish those features were with the old Taylor Gifts when I was there. Okay, yea, I’m jealous. The Duke of the Warehouse and I could have had a weekly show at the bar talking about products.
Well good luck New Taylor Gifts and Turn 5 friends! I wish you nothing but the utmost success and fortune. Drop me a line if you need an adventurer.