TWO RIVERS – A Two Rivers hardware store is closing its doors after 162 years in business.
The owner of Suettinger’s Hardware says business is down, and competition from larger retailers is only partially to blame.
“I have heard this from so many people, ‘If you can’t find it at Suettinger’s, you’re not going to find it,'” said Sharon Suettinger.
Suettinger’s late husband ran Suettinger’s Hardware for many years. His great-grandfather opened the store in 1852.
“Just came all the way through to now,” said Suettinger.
The store has 162 years of history, along with paint, nuts, bolts and hooks. Employees also make keys and fix lawn mowers.
Jim Vanne of Two Rivers has been shopping here for as long as he can remember.
“I come here all the time, always something to do, always something to fix,” said Vanne.
According to the Two Rivers Historical Society, the Suettinger’s store was the first hardware store in town. It is also the oldest busienss in town.
“It’s always been a staple,” said Holly Suettinger Engelland.
Engelland is a member of the historical society and part of the Suettinger family.
“It’s a part of your life, and you identify with it,” she said.
So why is the store closing? Suettinger says as large employers have left the area, business has slowed down.
She also says it has become more expensive to run a business, and her store faces some competition from big-box retailers.
“It got just to the point where it wasn’t feasible for us to continue in this situation,” she said.
“It’s a shame, been here too many years. Hate to see them go down,” added Vanne.
The store has ten employees. Suettinger says it was hard to tell them, and customers, about the closing.
“We really appreciated all the years that we had with them. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t have been us,” she said.
Nearly everything in the store is on sale. Suettinger hopes everything will be sold by the time the store closes on April 19.
The Suettinger’s building is for sale. Customers say they’ll now have to drive to Mishicot or Manitowoc to do their hardware shopping.