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'Don't Ask Why': Eagle Rock Lumber Store Closing After 107 Years

EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA)  -- A store closing is usually not news.

Most stores are not Eagle Rock Lumber Company. The lumber store has been a mainstay and staple in Eagle Rock for 107 years.

It's too big to be small and too small to be big.

CBS2/KCAL9's Joy Benedict met up with the owner of the company who walked her through the history of building a community.

It's a community built on local business, as small shops line most streets in Eagle Rock—- but now the business that helped build most of the town will soon close.

"But it's been quite a ride," says Kevin Strauch.

He owns the company -- a store first established in 1912.

It was owned by Strauch's father, who bought it from his boss.   Strauch has kept this store afloat for decades selling things many haven't seen in just as long.

He shows some of these items to Benedict.

"These kinds of circuit breakers for boxes they don't even make anymore," he says.

Walking around his hardware store — you'll find handwritten signs, old printed prices tags— and some company logos older than his customers.

"Since 1988! That's when those signs went up there," he points out.

Eagle Rock Store
(credit: CBS)

Now 78-years-young, Strauch says it's time to retire and admits his way of doing business retired long ago.

"The model for retail has changed dramatically with the web and the buying and competition and the big warehouse stores," he says.

When two Home Depot stores opened nearby— Strauch says he couldn't compete in quantity so he specialized in specific.

Redwood siding, pull switches -- the old touches needed to keep up the 1920's area homes line the shelves.

"Half the homes in Eagle Rock I would guess," he says, "have some material provided by either the old lumber company or the new lumber company."

But now 107 years later, the time has passed. Strauch says a growing homeless population and an increased minimum wage made it hard, but he says the store's closing isn't about blame.

"It's hard for us to make any money," he says.

Although the store is officially "closed", it will reopen at the end of the week to begin the liquidation process.

"I want to give the community the best opportunity to pick up things at a good price," Strauch says.

But what this company has already given Eagle Rock is simply priceless.

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