Posted: Aug 6, 2012 10:33 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
Updated: Aug 7, 2012 8:47 AM
The economy has taken a toll on a landmark business for the community of Atascadero. DeCou Lumber, which also houses ACE hardware, is closing its doors after 75 years of doing business.
"In 1954 we provided all the material to build the Atascadero hospital, and in the mid 1970s we supplied material to the Diablo Power Plant," said Jay DeCou, the third generation owner of DeCou Lumber and Ace Hardware.
Once bustling with business, selling lumber, building materials and hardware, business became quiet.
"It's just getting tougher and tougher in this economy," said Jay DeCou. "You look around North County and there are several big boxes, but also the Internet has been an impingement," he said.
DeCou Lumber adapted over the years. In the 1970s it took on ACE Hardware, but there have been a lot of changes since then. Big box hardware giants moved into town and then there was the housing slump. With 80% of DeCou's business sold to home builders...that takes its toll.
"People aren't building homes anymore. In fact, there was one single family home permit pulled in this city last year," explained Jay DeCou.
Jay and his brother, Jeff, say it's gut wrenching.
"Unfortunately we have to sell everything to pay the bank, the land, the fixtures and the building to achieve that," said Jeff DeCou, President of DeCou Lumber.
For long-time customers, DeCou's was not just a store.
"I can walk in here and ask one question and find exactly what I needed and be explained to. That's what was special - it was family," said Jordana, who has been a loyal customer for 35 years.
Fortunately bulk of the employees have found work elsewhere. As far as the DeCou family...
"We were born here, so we won't be going anywhere. We are really going to miss being here to see the people," said Jeff DeCou.
The store will stay open through August. Everything must go, so the store marked down its items 30% to 70% off.
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