from Walton Sun Collaborations, the funky art/furniture/consignment shop that stood as a landmark on County Road 30A for the past nine years, closed its doors April 24, the latest victim of South Walton?s newfound prosperity. Store owner Bobby Johnson is taking it all in stride, however, saying philosophically, "It was time." Johnson opened the eclectic store in the 7,000-square-foot rented building in Seagrove in 1996, before South Walton?s real estate boom. Three hundred well wishers came out for the store?s grand opening. "For some reason, this quirky store in this quirky location did well," he said. The store quickly became a popular gathering spot for locals and frequent visitors to the area, and the site of many parties and community events. But all good things come to an end, said Johnson. Last year, the Birmingham-based owners put the property up for sale for a cool $15 million, and renewing his lease was no longer an option for Johnson. "I?m tired of fighting it," he said. "It (the store) raised me. I came into this knowing nothing about the business. I learned the hard way. It taught me a lot of lessons. It?s part of who I am. But it?s time for a new chapter. I have no regrets. I?ll move on and remember the good memories." Even though Johnson has closed the doors to the public and doesn?t have a lease, he said it would take a while to liquidate the inventory of partly owned and partly consigned goods. "I?ve got storage units full of stuff. It will take a while to figure out and I?m just beginning the process," he said, which will also include selling wholesale lots of items, auctions and yard sales. The building will most likely be torn down to make room for new condos and home sites, which for Johnson, is a little sad, as the building holds a lot of memories for him. "My wife, Beverly, had a really good time with the store. We opened it together. I got to know her here. We got married here. One of my best memories is of my daughter singing at a champagne bus tour here," he said nostalgically. Collaborations is again listed as a stop on this year?s ArtsQuest Champagne Shopping Tour that will take place next week. "I pulled out," he said. "I couldn?t do it. My heart?s not in it. I didn?t want to have to explain it. I?ll remember the friendships made here, the relationships that were formed, the parties ? tons of parties. "I have to thank the community and my employees for the support all these years. The hardest part is losing my daily interaction with those guys. "It?s an emotional thing. I?m sad but OK to be sad. I?m honoring it. The store has been so much a part of my life. People always introduced me as ?Bobby Johnson of Collaborations,? but I?m so much more than that. I?m a surfer, a father, a husband, a book reader ? that?s how I want people to know me. It?s what do you stand for ? that?s who I am, not just the owner of Collaborations. "It?s letting go time. It?s time to shut the door on Collaborations."