In the wake of Avalon Pool, Baer Field Motorsports Park and the Waynedale Bakery recently closing, this week, Umber’s Do It Best Hardware in Waynedale announced that it too will close its doors. The announcement came as a shock to many on Facebook who reminisced by the hundreds about visiting the store throughout its 76 years of being in business.
“My dad said, there’s a beginning and there’s an end to every business. For me it’s been 23 years as owner. We have had to make some tough decisions about what’s best for our family, our customers, and our employees,” Dave Umber, third-generation owner of Umbers Hardware somberly stated. He continued, “In small business retail, you constantly have to compete with the big box stores and online stores, with all of those things that take a little bit of sales here and there, it’s hard to replace those lost sales with new customers or something. I think one of the downfalls of shopping local is that we need something to better draw in the younger generation.”
Starting on Monday, February 3, everything in the store will be marked down to 20% off and anything left over will be sold at an auction to be held in Late February. The building will not be sold at auction and Umber says that he is currently looking for a buyer. His son, Grant, who has been a big part of both Umber’s DIB Hardware locations (Waynedale and Georgetown) plans to work for Connolly’s Do It Best, which has the next closest local hardware store location in Southgate on Calhoun St.
As another legacy business in Waynedale closes its doors, we are reminded of the true impact of what local businesses have to offer and that if we want them around, we need to go the extra mile to support them. Too often, many willingly spend an extra few dollars when video streaming services like Netflix raise their rates, go out of their way for a Starbucks coffee, or conveniently buy from an online retailer and have a product shipped to their doorstep. But at the same time, pass all of the small locally owned businesses on their way to a big box store or shirk the idea of spending a few extra dollars on a local product, because they can get it cheaper from a major retailer.
Umber commented on how this might impact the community in the future, “I think that this may serve as a wakeup call to show the importance of shopping local, and that we need to teach the younger generation the advantages and value of small, local businesses as well. Many people don’t realize that even small businesses need to keep growing and it takes community members to make that happen.”
To preserve the Waynedale businesses we love, we must not take them for granted. We must be willing to spend a little bit more, take a little more time to check the local store first for the thing we need, follow them on social media, and truly become a fan of those businesses we want to keep around.
Note: At The Waynedale News, we too are not exempt from feeling the impacts of small businesses closing, who serve to fund a major portion of the newspaper. You can do your part to support our efforts by dropping off or mailing a donation to The Waynedale News at 2505 Lower Huntington Road Fort Wayne, IN 46809. See more about what we do: waynedalenews.com/community/