122-Year-Old Hardware Store Closes Its Doors After Wal-Mart Comes To Town

FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A hardware store in Fowlerville is closing after 122 years in business.
The economy and competition with big-box stores were too much for Fowlerville True Value Hardware to overcome, the owners told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell ( http://bit.ly/190cHmq ).

The business owned by the Burnie family for the past 69 years closed Dec. 7 to prepare for liquidation sales starting Monday, said Doug Burnie, who owned the store from 1974 to 2008.

Current owner Jim Burnie signed a purchase agreement with the Fowlerville Downtown Development Authority in 2007 to expand the store, but he withdrew it the next year when Wal-Mart opened a 184,000-square-foot store in the village.

“We never really recovered so it was profitable,” Doug Burnie told the newspaper. “The bottom line is that customer bases dwindled simply because they are deciding to go to one-stop big-box stores.”

Doug Burnie, who acquired the store from his father in 1974, said he always looked forward to going in to work.

“If your heart is in the hardware business, when someone walks in the front door and has a problem, it becomes your problem,” he said.

Fowlerville Downtown Development Authority Director Fred Dillingham said it’s sad for many in the community to see the store close.

“I don’t think it’s fair to call it a big-box-store-versus-small-business issue,” he told the newspaper. “The business environment in small communities has changed over many years, and there’s new opportunities businesses have to take advantage of.”

The store will permanently close once nearly everything is sold.


Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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