UPDATE 4/2/12 @ 10:30 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After 83 years of business, Evans Lumber in South Charleston closed its doors for the very last time on Friday.
However, the hardware store wants to leave its mark on the community.
The owners donated the inventory items that remain to Storehouse West Virginia. That's a ministry project of Believe in West Virginia.
Volunteers were at the store along D Street in South Charleston Monday morning to pack up all the remaining items on donated trucks.
Storehouse West Virgina is a gifts-in-kind warehouse that receives new products from manufactures and retailers and makes them available to churches and non-profit organizations at no charge.
Owner Don Evans said the struggling economy, decline of manufacturing in the area and dwindling population all led to this difficult decision to close the store.
Once the donated items are packed up and sorted they will be available to churches and charities across the state, according to a news release.
"It's just changing times," said Don Evans, owner of Evans Lumber. "It just seemed like everything was, if you want to use the word favorable, favorable to close. Or unfavorable to close."
Evans said the struggling economy, decline of manufacturing in the area and dwindling population all led to this difficult decision.
"It had been talked about for years," he said. "My father talked about it. My uncle talked about it. My father, before he died in 2005, was talking about it, and I finally talked him out of it and I said, 'You don't need to do that.You don't need to see this place empty.' "
It's something loyal customers don't want to see either. Charles Sammons has shopped at Evans since 1977.
"This was the main feeder for my business, and now I hate to have to look somewhere else to try and find select wood, once again, quality wood," he said.
"Everyone comes to Evans," said Bob Anderson, executive director of the South Charleston Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "It's a real sad day for us. We've put in 100 new stores in the last two years, but we hate to lose this one. It's a big one."
A store with a lot of history is now just a bittersweet memory.
Anderson said he's not sure what, if anything, will take over the building. Several people have looked at it but, so far, no takers.
As for the leftover merchandise, Evans said he plans to give it to charity.
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