Even 10,000 earplugs can't shield Sam Pepple from the steady stream of pleas from customers flowing into his store these days.
Why are you closing?
Where are you going?
How could you do this?
"I did it to myself," concedes Pepple, co-owner of Everything But Ice, which next month will end its 24-year run downtown. "I can't blame anybody."
Pepple's business, which buys and sells unclaimed freight and salvaged goods, is looking for a new home, now that he has sold its building to the owners of a toy store down the street.
As he works to clear out mountains of inventory -- the aforementioned 10,000 earplugs, plus dozens more area rugs, bookcases, bed frames, kitchenware and seemingly everything else that won't melt -- Pepple and his cohorts are left to wonder what comes next for the downtown mainstay that opened in 1981 in a former ice plant at Sixth and Vermont streets.
He's been busy looking for a new place in town to set up his next "salvage" shop, which may just be the same as the current place. Or not.
Among Pepple's ideas are peddling "shoes ... sporting goods ... upper-end housewares ... lifestyle furniture ... straight mattresses" or anything else that might make a buck or two.
Pepple and his wife, Debbie, sold the building only because the price was right and the move afforded them an opportunity to "try something new," he said.
"Caskets are something I'm thinking about," Sam Pepple said Tuesday, with a chuckle, "but I'm running into quite a bit of resistance from the people I'm working with."