CUYAHOGA FALLS — One of they city’s oldest businesses has closed its doors.
Located at 2413 State Road, Falls Hardware Co. saw its last day on May 5. Owner John McClain confirmed he was closing down the business his late father had founded, and ordering an auction to sell the store’s contents. McClain declined to say much more because he was too emotional.
"It’s been pretty hard on John," said Harold Farnsworth, whose company is handling the auction on May 24. "People are going to miss him because he’s got so much knowledge."
Falls Hardware’s closing comes just months before a new Menard’s on Graham Road is scheduled to open this summer. Farnsworth said the national chains can lack what local mom-and-pop stores have to offer.
"The big box stores — I’m not knocking them — but the person that works there doesn’t know the product at all," he said. "It isn’t like the old hardware guy who will tell you, ‘You don’t need that; you need this.’ That’s John."
Falls Hardware Company had been in its present location for 70 years, Formerly located at 2209 Front St., on the corner of Front Street and Portage Trail, Falls Hardware was forced to move when the store burned down in 1948. That corner is where a hardware store was located in 1864 when the L.W. Loomis Hardware Company was founded by L.W. Loomis, a New York state native.
"It’s just sad to see him go. He’s been there forever; it’s a landmark," said Jenny Bolyard, who’s been an employee of the Sherwin-Williams Paints store next door for 19 years. "We’ve had a lot of people come in and ask what happened. Everybody is sad to see him go."
Bolyard said McClain was a "great neighbor" who often cleared the paint store’s walk in the winter with his snowblower when he saw her struggling to do it herself with a shovel. She said she often sent her customers to him if they were looking for something she didn’t have. "He will be missed," Bolyard added. "He is well loved in the community."
A type-written letter from McClain hanging in the hardware store’s window states it is closing "due to circumstances beyond my control … It has been my family’s privilege to serve the community of Cuyahoga Falls for two generations. I would like to personally thank you all for allowing me to help you with your hardware needs and also becoming friends with so many of you over the years."
McClain said in the letter it was his "privilege to help with the smallest thing from a nut or a bolt or just some advice." He said he will miss seeing all of his customers. "Thank you again for allowing me to be a small part of your lives," he closed, "and thank you for being part of mine."
Reporter Steve Wiandt, can be reached at 330-541-9420, firstname.lastname@example.org or @SteveWiandt_RPC.