Sunday, August 28, 2011

IT'S "COOL STUFF DAY": City Hall honors long-time downtown merchant

COLUMBIA, 8/28/11  (Beat Byte) --  "I, Robert McDavid, Mayor of the City of Columbia, Missouri, do hereby proclaim Sunday, August 28, 2011 'Cool Stuff Day.'"
So reads an official City Hall proclamation acknowledging the 23-year contribution of "eccentric entrepreneur Arnie Fagan," the Cool Stuff owner and founder who "has created jobs for more than 600 citizens, from teenagers to octogenarians; served more than one million customers; and generated more than one million dollars in sales taxes for the benefit of the people of Missouri," the proclamation proclaims.

Cool Stuff -- "the store to explore" -- opened August 8, 1988 and has since become a staple of Columbia's eclectic downtown merchant landscape.  The store sells toys, trinkets, hobbies, and other hard-to-find novelty items from the world over, "fostering an appreciation for various cultures, lands, artwork, music, and handicrafts," McDavid proclaimed. 

About the Cool Stuff owner himself, the city proclamation praised Fagan's "participation in downtown leadership that has guided the District's economic and cultural resurgence"; and for "relentlessly dedicating" half his life to "a panoply of local and small business entrepreneurial pursuits" that "exemplify civic pride."

Cool Stuff headquarters in the historic Metropolitan Building on Broadway is also "considered the finest example of Art Deco architecture in Downtown Columbia," the proclamation reads.  Fagan's preservation efforts landed the building on the National Register of Historic Places

"Thanks Cool Stuff, for providing more than just another toy for a kid," customer Jon Richman wrote on the store's Facebook page, joining other congratulations.  As the first place he visited that carried polished stones, Cool Stuff sparked Richman's interest in geology.  "Whether you knew it or not, you sent me on several fond adventures," he wrote.  "It would be hard to imagine Columbia, Mo. being what it is if Cool Stuff weren't a part of it." 

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