Sad news everyone. I took a trip to Florida Oriental Trading today with a friend to confirm a rumor about their imminent closing. They are having a clearance sale for the rest of the year on just about all of their merchandise and will be closing up shop at the beginning of 2010. This is sad news for the community as FOT was pretty much the last anime shop in Orlando. Other stores like Japan HQ have disappeared while Colloseum of Comics and Sci-Fi City have scaled down their anime and manga sections to practical non-existence. After FOT closes, we have no local stores to buy anime merchandise from regularly except for Hot Topic, Best Buy, and MovieStop. Oh, joy.
Florida Oriental Trading has been selling anime & manga merchandise as well as many other products from Asia for many, many years. Quan(or is it Kwan?) has been good people to visit and talk to. He has sponsored prizes for events that I have done at conventions for the past two years and has helped out other clubs and organizations in the local anime community. Just today, we were talking about Guin Saga, which anyone in our club knows is awesome.
It will be sad to see the store go, but Quan plans to work local anime conventions and Megacon, and he will be selling his merchandise online. I will have a link to his website when it is ready.
I guess in the end, this was bound to happen sooner or later. The fanbase for anime has changed significantly throughtout this decade. We have a new generation of anime fans that see things differently from the older crowd; their tastes are different and far more specific. Not only that, their interest in spending money is far lower compared to years ago to the point that anime convention dealer rooms merchandise tables consist of discount anime and manga along with cheap figures and Pocky. The past couple years of Dealers' Room visits have been underwhelming, to say the least.
You will be missed Quan, even though we can say hello to you at places like Megacon and Anime Festival Orlando. For those who want to visit FOT before it closes, it is open everyday except Wednesday from 10am to 7pm and the shop is located on 1217 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Be sure to stop by, get some presents, and wish Quan a Happy Holiday.