Hardware Emporium to close its doors

By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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The days on the 2008 calendar are drawing short. They’re even shorter for Hardware Emporium, which closes Sunday, Dec. 14, after almost 38 years in business on Taylor Road. Hardware Emporium is an institution for Loomis Basin residents looking for widgets and all things hardware. But all good things must come to an end, said Dawn Forcier, daughter of Hardware Emporium founder Jerry Forcier, who died in 1997. Three generations of Forciers have continued to run the hardware store: Cynthia, the founder’s widow, their son, Steven, and Dawn and her daughter, Amy. “We’re retiring. We’re going to take a nice, long break,” said Dawn Forcier, who pointed out that she and her mother haven’t had a vacation in 12 years. “We’re going to see the lighthouses along the coast of California,” she said. They will also see the Grand Canyon on the road trip planned for next spring. For now, they’ve still got a store to run and customers to serve. Last week, Ali Knight, of Loomis, stopped in to buy staples to hang her Christmas lights. “I’ve never been her before,” said Knight. Jann Neal, however, has been a Hardware Emporium customer since 1979. “They’re great,” the middle-school teacher said of the Forciers. “If they don’t have something, they’ll order it for you. They’ll fix you up,” Neal said. “If you need something, they’ll go get it for you … It’s going to be real sad when they close.” And Forcier will miss providing the customer service Hardware Emporium has provided through the decades. “What I’ll miss the most is being able to stir people in the right direction. Figuring out the problem, helping them get it fixed,” she said. The store carries an extensive line of irrigation supplies, which Ted Greenfield of Foothill Feed will buy, according to Forcier. “It’s good there’ll be somebody close by to supply parts for irrigation,” she said. Forcier said they might hold a sale next year. For now, they “just want to take a break, enjoy the holidays.” The building, which was originally the Orange Cove restaurant, and everything from a pool hall to a dime store and doctor’s office in between, will eventually be sold, said Forcier. She doesn’t blame either the economy or the big-box stores for the closure of Hardware Emporium. “We’ve been slow, for sure, because of the economy. The same as everyone else. It has nothing to do with Home Depot or Lowe’s coming. We could weather the economy if we wanted to.”