CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Save Supply Co., Charleston's family owned kitchen and bath specialists since 1929, will close within the next 10 days, said owner Monty Coles.
Goldman Associates Inc. will auction the company's multiple buildings and 59,000 square feet of property at 711 Park Ave. on the West Side on Oct. 10.
Coles said, "The last year was great for us. This past March was the best month for us in years. When they started pulling mining and drilling permits, it had a ripple effect. Then we had the derecho."
The June 29 storm brought a lot of commerce to a standstill. Many West Virginians lost power for up to 10 days.
"Then I got to thinking, what if something happened to me in a time like that? My wife would be in a mess. At about the same time my brother-in-law passed away and it hit me between the eyes."
Coles is 68. He has worked at the store since he was 14 years old.
Save Supply was established by David Marcus and Clarence Coles, Monty's father. After several decades, Marcus retired and Clarence bought him out. Monty became owner when Clarence died in 1981.
Monty's sons, David and Travis, have worked in the store over the years. "David is going to be looking for something," Monty said. "He's a very talented person. He managed the countertop operation and, in the last two years, he replaced long-time employee Bob Carter and has been doing a lot of the office work.
"About one-and-a-half years ago Travis decided he was wanting out," Coles said. "He opened his own business as a handyman. He's a wonderful hands-on person. It takes a lot of drive in this store to keep it going daily, planning ahead, and it just wasn't his thing."
Save Supply had about 45 employees when business peaked about 25 years ago.
"We did have a manufacturing operation - we made countertops in lengths and sold them in a 10-state area," he said.
"We quit that around 1984. After my father passed away, running two types of business, I was here almost continuously."
When you run a family owned business, "it's seven days a week, 24 hours a day," Coles said. "I enjoyed this a lot more when I was out selling some."
"We've probably had eight people who've worked here over 50 years," he said. The number of employees is now down to eight. "We've been tightening up," he said.
Most employees have found work or have developed alternative plans, Coles said.
Save Supply's business was built on customer service and the company has done business by the Golden Rule. "That's what made us," he said.
"We tried to have American products as much as we could purchase. Over the last few years some of our suppliers were bought out by conglomerates that bring in people who, I feel, don't have an idea what they're doing and when you have a problem it's hard to deal with. But we've had so many great suppliers over the years it is unreal."