BAY CITY (WJRT) - (02/07/19) - A Bay City hardware store that survived the Great Depression, our recent recession, and much more plans to close.
John W. Putz Hardware has been in business for 103 years.
"It's time to hang up our hats and enjoy it a little bit more," said long-time employee Lee Leinberger.
Leinberger started at the store on Salzburg Avenue when he was a teenager. He's been there for nearly 50 years.
The service and parts manager grew up at the store and watched many families grow too. "Grandparents brought their stuff in there, then their dads did, and the you know the grandkids and stuff like that. You know it's a lot of three generations, four generations," Leinberger said.
The store is now owned by Lois Niemann. She's a third generation owner.
Her grandfather opened the store in 1916.
Times have changed since then.
"Before it was much busier throughout the years and stuff like that, before the big box stores opened up," Leinberger said. "It's been coming. You can see the handwriting on the wall."
Leinberger said their service set them apart from the larger retailers, but shoppers have changed too.
"We're kind of like a 7-11 now. People come in and just you know, they don't go out and buy the big things any more. They just come and buy the small things that they need," Leinberger said.
Leinberger isn't sure of his future plans just yet, but he does know he has a lot of service work to get done before they close.
"I've had a great time at this store. The customers is what's really been great," Leinberger said.
The store is for sale right now, but a closing date has not been decided yet.