Barry’s Magic Shop to vanish after 38 years


Barry Taylor, co-owner of Barry's Magic Shop, performs an act in 2001. After 38 years, the business will close this summer. (Mark Finkenstaedt FTWP/For The Washington Post)

The last rabbit is out of the hat. The bag of tricks is empty. And Montgomery County’s venerable emporium of mystery, Barry’s Magic Shop, is finally giving up the ghost.

After 38 years, the famed local conjuring house has announced on its Web site that it is closing its doors July 15.

Owners Barry Taylor and his wife, Susan Kang, said in a posting Wednesday that they do so “with mixed emotions. . . . Over the past 38 years, we’ve met some wonderful magicians, hosted world-class lectures, and offered one-on-one advice like only a ‘real magic shop’ can.

“But closing will allow us to retire from retail, focusing on performing and creating new magic,” they said. “We expect to re-launch BarrysMagicShop.com later as an online source for the tricks we create.”

Five years ago, with financial help from the county, the shop was able to relocate from its old, cramped quarters on Georgia Avenue to a space twice as large on Nicholson Lane, near the White Flint Mall.

But the shop, long a gathering place for local magicians, decided to bow out when its lease expires in July, according to its Web site.

“We’d rather go out on top, and be remembered by our current location: one of the largest in the country,” the owners said.

They announced an immediate liquidation sale, with everything discounted by 30 percent.

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” the owners said in their posting. “And while we’re sad to be closing up, we are excited to start a new chapter. Before the shop disappears, we hope you’ll come by to say hello and enjoy the discounts!”

In a telephone interview, Taylor said: “It’s been 38 years, you know . . . my wife and I . . . need a bit of a break. There’s always all kinds of other extenuating circumstances, you know. But been there, done it. And we did it well.

“The people from the area have been happy to have us interacting with them in learning magic and creating memories,” he said. “It was a labor of love. . . . We’ve been so thankful for everybody that we’ve met, friends and customers we’ve made over the years.”

Taylor, who spoke Thursday after putting on a magic show for children, said he leaves the business with good recollections, and his favorite trick, which he invented. “You know magicians — we all have our favorites,” he said.

His is called “half gone.” It involves a coin placed on the back of an audience member’s hand. The coin is covered with a playing card. Taylor snaps his fingers, and the coin is gone. “Then you make it reappear where you like,” he said.

People love it, he said, but “anybody could do it.”

Asked how, he said: “Ahhhh, that’s the secret.”

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.
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