After 54 Years, Edinburg Store Set To Close
Posted: December 3, 2012
EDINBURG — After 54 years, C.E. Thompson & Sons hardware — a mainstay of the Edinburg community — will soon close its doors.
C.E. Thompson and his sons, John and William, opened a hardware store and construction company in 1958 Originally, the store operated out of the former King Kola bottling plant on West Piccadilly Street. The Thompsons expanded to its current home at 201 Stoney Creek Blvd. in 1974.
The hardware store is now owned and managed by John’s three children, Harris Thompson, Mary Beth Foltz and Anne Shirkey.
In advance of the closing, everything in the store is marked 50 percent off.
Over the last few months, ever since the decision was made to shut down the store, feelings shared among the siblings have been nothing short of heartbreak. It was a difficult decision, the reason for which can be summed up in a single word: Lowe’s.
But no one could deny the drop off in business when the home improvement retailer opened in Woodstock in 2007.
“There’s not much of a market here to share,” said Anne.
C.E. Thompson & Sons is not alone. According to census data, hundreds of truly independent hardware stores — as opposed to those that are owned locally but operate under a national brand name — have been shuttered over the last two decades, in large part because of competition from home improvement warehouse chains such as Lowe’s and The Home Depot.
The cavernous home improvement chains had their start in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s and early ‘90s that the industry took off. The Home Depot, the No. 1 home improvement retailer, currently operates 2,141 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China, while Lowe’s, the No. 2 chain, has 1,745 stores in North America.
All In The Family
Mary Beth said she, Harris and Anne all grew up working at the store off and on.
“It was a great opportunity, because we could work when we could,” she said.
Added Anne: “We all had to start at the bottom and work our way up.”
Their father, John, who ran the store after the deaths of their grandfather and uncle in the early 1980s, died in 2010. His children’s memories of him are wrapped up in those of the hardware store.
“He was here by 7 a.m. every day. Most people didn’t realize he had done an hour’s work before he even came to work,” said Mary Beth.
She said she remembered him taking her on construction jobs on the weekends.
For years C.E. Thompson enjoyed an influx of loyal customers. The store is certified to sell materials the U.S. Forest Service and, according to Anne, carries certain products not found at many similar stores.
Auctions This Month
The Thompsons will hold two auctions, one on Dec. 15 for equipment, trucks and materials, and then a final auction on Dec. 29 for all remaining inventory.
After the closing signs went up outside, Anne said, the response from neighbors has been overwhelming.
“Everybody’s really upset,” she said. “We just want to thank everyone for their support over the last 54 years.”
Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or email@example.com