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Terry's Hardware bids Rosemount goodbye

Terry’s Hardware in Rosemount will close Jan. 31, after 39 years as the family-run hardware store. Kara Hildreth / contributor 1 / 2
The inventory at Terry's Hardware in Rosemount is headed to owner Pete Terry's store in Hastings, where he has decided to focus his business. Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 2

ROSEMOUNT — Closing Terry's Hardware was difficult decision for owner Pete Terry. After 39 years of tending to customers' needs downtown, the small hardware store will close Jan. 31.

"You have no idea how hard it has been because it has been a family business in the community for 39 years, I went to school here and graduated from here," said Pete Terry, a second-generation owner.

Customers have been coming to give well-wishes.

"Terry's Hardware is stocked with all the qualities a good small business should strive for and has a knowledgeable and friendly staff, a wide selection and excellent service," said Natalie Albers, a resident and longtime customer.

Marion Strasburg has been an employee for almost 18 years. Her retail career has been all about relationships with the locals she knows by name.

"I say I am like the bartender of the hardware store because they tell you everything from their personal lives," Strasburg said.

Terry said he will miss talking with customers who come in to shop and make small talk.

Terry's Hardware in Rosemount will close Jan. 31, and the inventory and merchandise will be moved to the larger Terry's Hardware in Hastings.

In August 1978, his parents, Chuck and Darlene Terry began running the Coast To Coast hardware store located across the parking lot in the strip mall off Highway 3. As a boy, Terry remembers helping his parents paint the walls, fix the floor and install light fixtures, as well as stocking store shelves.

"Then we purchased that store in 1991 and a year after we dropped Coast to Coast and went to Ace," Terry said.

"I was in college and I ended up staying in a business that I swore my whole entire childhood that I would never do, but I love it and I have no regrets except closing the doors," said Terry.

In 2000, the store moved to its current location. In 2012, the store dropped it Ace franchise and became Terry's Hardware.

"Our business model has evolved with the market, but it was irrelevant to how we ran our business, and one of the reasons we got away from Ace was so we could run it how we wanted to run it," he explained.

Labor shortage

The option to close the Rosemount hardware location was on the table two years ago, Terry said.

"We were hoping we could get enough staff and we were struggling to do so, and ultimately we are not able to do so because I can get high school and college kids and supervisors and managers, but I cannot get part-time adults to work," Terry said.

Many adults apply but show no interest when they discover the job requires working on weekend. The Rosemount location needs a staff of 13, including five full-time employees. Currently, the Terrys employ eight staff. All have been offered jobs to transfer to the Hastings location.

"In our consolidation of staff, it solves our staffing challenges," Terry said.

"My average workday is 13 hours a day, seven days and weekends, and in 2017 my wife and I only had four days we did not work," Terry said. Wife Carissa handles the administrative work.

"We want to let people know we are not going out of business because we are dying — our revenue is up and this is the saddest part," Terry said. "It is because the better we do, the more staff we need and we can't find staff.".

After Terry's Hardware in Rosemount closes, the plan is to lease the Rosemont building and move merchandise to Terry's Hardware in Hastings. The store is twice as large, located on the south edge of town between the Dodge and Ford dealerships.

The difficulty filling part-time jobs may be a sign of a flourishing economy, he said, but the shortage may hurt small businesses in the future.

"I think what is happening to us is a sign of what is to come across the industries, and it is a supply-and-demand problem because there are more jobs than there are a supply of people to work," Terry said.

Proud to have run the family business for nearly 40 years, Terry said the decision to close was based on quality of life for him and his family. "It had to stop being about pride and it had to start being about reality," he said.

"Rosemount's residents have supported the store for nearly four decades and losing Terry's is not only a loss to us but to our youth," Albers said.

Her three sons grew up going to Terry's as infants inside car seats. Today, they are tall enough to see inside the store's popcorn machine.

Albers said, "We'd hoped they could get their first jobs there like so many of our local high schoolers do, and while I am sad to see Terry's close, I look forward to welcoming another small business to our town and making it feel as welcome here as each of the Terry's customers felt."

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