After over 160 years in business, Aspinall Wholesale of Osprey City is finally closing its doors this Friday. Owner Stephen Aspinall cited decreasing profitability due to rising fuel costs and easier access to goods produced by overseas competitors. The company was a longtime pillar of the community, sponsoring everything from art fairs to academic scholarships to Little League baseball teams. According to Aspinall, the company’s remaining 150 employees will receive lavish compensation packages and job placement services.
Founded in 1852 by Gregory Aspinall, an immigrant merchant from Lancashire, England, Aspinall Wholesale rose to prominence as the chief supplier of goods to most of Osprey City’s retailers. The company originally specialized in providing whaling industry products, such as ivory, baleen, and spermaceti to stores along the East Coast. As whaling declined in the United States, Aspinall Wholesale shifted its focus towards consumer goods, and by the early 1900s it was one of the foremost wholesale companies in New England. Aspinall Wholesale counted among its clients Goodman & Sons Clothiers, Kramer & Kramer, and MarcoMart.
Aspinall Wholesale has occupied the same red-brick warehouse in the Dockyard section of Osprey City since its founding. Members of the city’s Department of Cultural Activity have expressed interest in preserving the building as a historical landmark and converting it into a community arts center.
The Four-Color Realm, a comic book store located on the far east side of Osprey, is holding an event centered on Masked Victory, a costumed crimefighter who operated in the area during the 1930s and 1940s. Masked Victory was the subject of a popular series of comic books in that time, and also fought alongside Allied troops in Europe in the closing years of World War II. To this day, his identity remains unknown.
The event, scheduled for this Saturday, will have a costume contest, art auction, and a sale on Masked Victory and other reprints from the Golden Age of Comics (late 1930s to the early 1950s). “We’re really excited to hold this event,” commented store owner Kurt Daltry. “Masked Victory may have been forgotten by most people, even comic enthusiasts, but we’re keeping his memory alive here.” Daltry noted how rare it is to have any sort of celebrity from the Osprey area.
Given the recent resurgent interest in superheroes following the success of so many films, Daltry anticipates a fairly large-sized crowd. “Even if people come just because they’re curious, that’s great – they don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy the festivities.” The Four-Color Realm opened in early 2002 and expanded twice over the last ten years to become Osprey City’s largest retailer of comic books and comic-related ephemera. Entry to the event is free.
Citing decreasing membership numbers and increased operating costs, the lauded Scrimshaw Club announced yesterday that it will be opening its doors to the general public starting next month. The Scrimshaw Club, opened in 1850, has historically been the establishment of choice for Osprey’s elite.
“Of course, this does not mean that we will push out our remaining members,” explained Reginald Hawthorne II, president of the Scrimshaw Club. “In fact, most days will be for members only. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be for the general public.” A strict dress code of slacks, button-down shirts, and dress shoes will be enforced.
Members met the news with mixed reaction. Some members understood the need for change. “Look, I understand that the Club needs to increase income,” commented member Samuel Wood. “These days, clubs like this are sort of anachronistic – they have to do what they can to survive. If that means allowing the public to come in and enjoy what the Scrimshaw Club has to offer, so be it.” Other members were reportedly offended at the idea of opening the club to “the plebes,” in the words of one member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Scrimshaw Club is where we go to get away from these people. I personally don’t have any interest in rubbing shoulders with a bunch of vodka-and-Red-Bull swilling, fist-pumping bros.”
Wealthy whaling ship owners founded the Scrimshaw Club in the mid-1800s in order to have a place to relax and discuss business in private. With fine, dark woods, luxurious leather seats, and many fine examples of scrimshaw art, the Scrimshaw Club exudes class and sophistication. It is one of the few remaining active gentlemen’s clubs of the 19th century, and the only one in Osprey City.
Granger Transport (GRT), Osprey City’s largest industrial shipping company, is expanding its operations to the emerging markets in East Asia. The announcement came yesterday directly from Granger Transport’s president, Heather Granger. Granger Transport stocks jumped 5 percent in response to the news.
“We’re very excited to work with our new partners in China and South Korea,” commented Granger. “Our expansion will mean more efficient transporation and increased revenue. But more importantly, our expansion means more good, well-paying jobs for the people of Osprey.” Ms. Granger then introduced Mr. Chiou Dewei of Beijing and Mr. Pan Jeong Ho of Seoul as Granger Transport’s East Asian regional directors.
Wood Industries spun its own transport division out into Granger Transport in 1985. Originally captained by Michael Granger, leadership passed to his daughter Heather, upon Michael’s unfortunate 1998 death from a skiing accident in the Berkshires. Granger Transport remains a subsidiary of Wood Industries.