RANGELY I Starting today, Rangely’s Heritage Building and Home Center will begin liquidating its store inventory with plans to close its doors next month.
The draws for locals to shop out of town and online, along with more in-town competition—Rangely True Value put in a lumber yard last year, while an Ace Hardware store opened in White River Market last month—were factors in the decision, owners John and Beckey Hume said.
However, they weren’t the only considerations, Beckey Hume emphasized.
“I don’t want people to think this is happening because of the recent addition of the Ace Hardware,” she said. “This has been coming for quite some time.”
In 1997, the Humes bought the hardware and lumber business, then known as Four Seasons Lumber, from Beckey’s uncle, Stan Hayes. For more than a decade, Hayes had been selling a unique mix of products: oilfield chemicals, lumber, hardware and sporting goods.
“He was trying to fill a need,” John Hume said.
To many residents in the community, the Humes have been doing just that for the better part of two decades.
“They’ve been a great asset to the community and helped us at the museum quite a bit,” Rangely Museum Director Brenda Hopson said. “They always found a way to give when people needed donations … It will be sad to see them gone. Being people from the community makes it a little bit tougher.”
As Heritage’s business surged with the economy, the Humes expanded the store’s inventory and doubled the lumberyard’s square footage. They felt good about the services they offered alongside their products, from installing a gadget for a homeowner to making late-night treks to the store for goods customers needed.
“We were always raised with the idea of community and helping other people,” John Hume said. “It’s just what you do.”
The business began a slow decline in 2008, a year the Humes associate with the changing of the presidential guard and a new bust cycle in the local economy. Each year, in hopes that business would pick up again, they decided to hang on a little longer.
Finally, this spring, they decided it was time to sell off the inventory and fixtures and close the store.
“The obvious reason is we don’t have the sales,” John Hume said. “We do have a customer base, but it’s not enough to supply our overhead.”
The Humes are uncertain what’s next for them or the property that, since 1953, has housed Foster Lumber Co. and various other businesses under local owners. Rental properties and family will likely keep them in Rangely for some time yet, they said.
Longtime Rangely resident Vicki McPhail, who recently moved to Grand Junction, has seen the long-term effects of decreased spending within the community.
“I hate to see any business go down,” she said. “It’s bad for the town. There’s not a single one of us who doesn’t shop out of town, and stores need to provide incentive and be competitive. But if Rangely’s going to thrive, people need to give some support to those businesses.”
Whatever their decisions in the future, the Humes will continue to encourage local leaders and community members to support sellers who try to price products competitively and offer something more: a personal experience, a certain level of knowledge and a genuine care for the customer.
John and Beckey Hume also thanked their loyal customers over the years.
“It’s going to be different, but we will still see you all around town,” John Hume said.
Heritage is expected to close its doors by mid- to late September.