Williams Magic & Novelties closed its doors Sunday afternoon, ending a nearly quarter-century run on East 22nd Street.
The family-owned store, which supplied tricks and trinkets to Tucson's magic community, will continue as an online store. The family also will open a kiosklike business closer to their home in Vail sometime in late May.
Emory Williams Jr., who owns the store with his parents, said the family decided to close a couple of months ago. The economy has hurt business, he said, but more than that, the nature of magic as a business had dramatically changed.
"The Internet has impacted hugely in both positive and negative ways," Williams said. "It makes magic more accessible. … They are learning all the secrets on YouTube for free. Where they used to come into a brick-and-mortar shop like ours and buy secrets, they now get it for free on the Web. They have no regard for the secrets."
Williams said he also will continue his 4-year-old mobile magic store, which he drives to magic clubs, conventions and events around the country. The RV trailer is filled with 4,000 items, ranging from books and videos to magic kits and props, all organized on rolling shelves.
Williams said he has taken the mobile store to 160 clubs in 35 states.
Williams Magic is among hundreds of magic stores around the country in recent years to close and move operations online, said Christopher Bontjes, president of the National Society of American Magicians.
"Brick and mortar magic stores are going the way of brick and mortar bookstores," he said. "It's easier for people to go online and shop than to go to a physical store."
You can find Williams Magic & Novelties online at www.williams magic.com