Update: Wild Bill's family has announced that the sale’s final day would be Sept. 30. So, if you hurry, you still might have time to head there to see what’s left.
The well-known Wild Bill’s Nostalgia shop is closing its doors in the coming weeks, according to a Facebook post on its social media page.
The shop features a massive collection of show-print posters, vinyl records, toys, collectibles, books, antiques, gag props, incense, vintage clothing, cartoon and carnival characters. It was the dream of founder William “Wild Bill” Ziegler, who passed away last year at age 70.
Ziegler’s family took over the shop on Newfield Street in Middletown after his death but won’t maintain it any longer.
Before his death, Ziegler was a pop culture icon in the city. He opened the store on Main Street in Middletown 33 years ago and relocated to Newfield Street in 1996. Last year, Connecticut Magazine named Wild Bill’s one of Connecticut’s 30 Hidden Gems. When Randall Beach wrote about the attraction in 2016, he said, "When you come upon the parking lot and exterior of Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center on Route 3 in Middletown, you know immediately it lives up to its motto: 'strange things.'"
The designation didn't offend Heather Page, Wild Bill's daughter and the store owner at the time. She said her father would have been pleased to be compared to places like Times Square and the Alamo (named worst tourist traps in New York and Texas).
"I think my dad would be proud. he would love that," she said. "He tried to build up a legacy, and I think he was pretty darn successful. He was always proud of every time we were in the newspaper."
According to the shop's Facebook post, “Growing up in this environment was fun and exciting for the most part, but this was all Wild Bill’s dream project. However, his dream is bigger than any one of us can collectively accomplish as a family. The business grew into something that we as a whole could never have imagined. It saddens us to the core, but the final curtain call looms on the very near horizon.”
The shop will be selling off all the items that Ziegler accumulated over his lifetime, according to the post.