Monday, March 19th, 2018

Gearhart’s Closes After 86 Years in Business

May 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured

Editor’s Note: The Hilltop Business Association thanks Dave for his many years of service and membership with the Hilltop Business Association!  His service to the community has been very appreciated!  Below is a story that was posted May 12th on the WCMH website:

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — After 86 years in business, Gearhart’s Hardware Store on the west side of Columbus is closing. Owner David Miller says the business has been unable to bounce back from the economic recession.

“A lot of homeowners in this area, they just quit doing things because they were afraid,” Miller said. “They were afraid for their jobs, afraid they were going to lose their homes and they just quit doing things.”

The business first opened in 1929 on Sullivant Avenue. In 2002 it moved to West Broad Street but maintained its reputation as a neighborhood store with a family atmosphere. The employees have decades of experience–one of them is 78-year-old Gary Goodrich.

“Little women bring their lamps in here and we fix their lamps,” Goodrich said. “People come in with plumbing problems and we help them with that. It’s just that people are not buying. It just seems like the economy hit us hard on this side of town.”

Miller says he maxed out his credit cards, used up all his retirement savings and even sold his house in his attempts to keep the hardware store in business.

“I just don’t have anything left,” Miller said.  “I’m basically broke. I’m going to have to file for bankruptcy.”

Miller said the building has already been sold. He said he will lock the doors for the last time after crews haul away the last of the stores interior shelving on Friday.

Miller says complicating the decline in sales was an increase in thefts.

“When the economy started getting worse, people started stealing things,” Miller said. “One year, two or three years ago, the year-end inventory showed about $32,000 worth of theft. “That’s a lot. All the profit and more.”

Long time customer Marvin Houston stopped by Thursday to pick through a few buckets of remaining merchandise. Houston says he has preferred Gearthart’s to the big box hardware stores because of the family atmosphere.

“It really hurts,” Houston said. “I’m going to miss it.  I’m going to miss them. You’re not just losing a business, they’re like family and they treat you like family. So, it really hurts.”



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