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Lakeview Hardware, a staple Battle Creek business for 87 years, is closing

With one week to go before closing up shop for good, Kerrie Redner stayed busy Friday assisting customers inside Lakeview Hardware at 660 Capital Ave. S.W.

Redner, who co-owns the business with her brother-in-law, Craig Walters, said the daily interactions with customers made their joint decision to retire difficult, but the pair are ready to spend more time enjoying their grandchildren.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Redner said. “Both Craig and I have been here over 40 years. I’m hearing people say, ‘Congratulations, you finally get to retire. We’ll miss you and understand what is going on.’ It’s a difficult time with the pandemic and everything, it’s an unusual time for retail. We had some big supply chain issues when we opened up before. I think we’re excited, looking forward to the next chapter of what we are going to do.”

One of over 4,500 independently-owned franchises of True Value Co., Lakeview Hardware has deep roots in the Lakeview business district. Redner and Walters, owners since 1999, have long sought a buyer willing to continue operating it as a home improvement business.

Due in large part to supply chain issues created by the pandemic, the pair decided to close Lakeview Hardware for five months before reopening in April, with the continued intent of selling the business for undisclosed terms.

“We tried to sell it for the last couple of years and not really had any interest or interest where nothing that came to fruition,” Redner said. “This certainly wasn’t what we hoped would happen. We hoped somebody from the community would step forward, purchase the store and carry the history forward. We have to do something. It’s time for us to retire.”

Charles Parrott started Parrott Hardware at 639 Capital Ave. S.W. in 1933 and built the current two-story brick building several lots over in 1938. It later became Snyder-Meacham Hardware (Jay Snyder and Raymond Meacham) in 1940, and then Lakeview Hardware Supply after Harry Wagner and Frank B. Nash purchased it in 1946. Boyd Redner took over in 1977, when his daughter, Kerrie, and Walters began working there as teenagers.

“It’s been an ongoing business for a long time,” Walters said. “It’s been a real hard decision to make. We had the store for sale for quite a while, and with COVID and everything, nothing was going to change.

“It was absolutely a fabulous run. A great thing for our family — our kids all worked for us, their friends — and it’s really been a nice community to be a part of and work with.”

The last day of business for Lakeview Hardware is Friday. After that, all the remaining inventory will be sold at auction in mid-September, and the building will also be sold at auction if the minimum bid is met. The date of the auction has not yet been finalized, with updates provided on the Lakeview Hardware Facebook page.

Walters said that along with the customers, he would miss working on the hardwood floors that date back to the 1960s.

“If I had to work on concrete I wouldn’t be able to walk now,” he joked. “It was a great building and we had a great stand in that little business community in Lakeview.”

Redner added, “We’re definitely an anchor here in Lakeview. Hopefully we can sell the building and we can go forward with a business that can continue to anchor the neighborhood.”

 

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