Final cut coming soon for Minton's
City's oldest business closing to make way for housing development
Minton's Lumber and Supply, the city's oldest business, will soon trickle away piece by piece as lumber, tools and trucks are auctioned off on Nov. 9.
If there had been enough business to keep the store open, the Minton's name would have been 100 years old next year, said its president, Debby Shulz.
"It has always been my feeling that it's difficult for the small independent business to compete against big boxes," Shulz said. "It just was not working out. My parents, the owners, were putting in their own money to keep things operating."
Early next year, the buildings will be demolished and construction will begin on a 200-unit apartment project on the site. The developer, Prometheus Real Estate Group, has agreed to rent the land from Shulz and her family for 75 years.
Having the property stay in the family was Shulz's father's one wish, she said. "We want to hang on to the property as long as possible."
Shulz said that items may begin appearing on an auction website, dgwauctioneers.com, within the next few days. "Anything that's here we have to get rid of it," Shulz said.
That includes a small vehicle fleet, the cutting equipment in the woodshop and tons of lumber, tools and supplies.
The store doesn't have a firm closing date. Shulz said it could be anywhere from the end of October to the day before the Nov. 9 auction.
"The hardest part is having to lay off people because we are closing," Shulz said. "They are like my brothers."
The average Minton's employee has worked there 25 years, she said.
"Through the 70s, 80s and the early part of the 90s, we were able to run a profitable business," Shulz said. "And I felt we were really able to make an impact on the market and provide a service you don't get when you go to a warehouse-type store. But price is just a big factor right now. There is an enormous amount of inventory these stores carry and they can price it a lot lower. Young homeowners are looking for the best possible price. Our clientele, I noticed, got older and older."
The store has history back to 1897 when it opened as a branch yard for Parkinson Bros. Lumber and Hardware. It was purchased in 1911 by Earl Minton, who changed its name. Shulz's father, Herbert Eaton, bought the company in 1965 after managing the business for Minton.
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