Seeing any local retailer close up shop is a sad event. But the emotions may run particularly high with regard to , which has been a favored destination locally for decades.
The store, located at 2271 Lee Road, is closing by the first week of July due to economic pressures brought on by very familiar conditions, including the economic downturn and stiff competition in the surrounding area.
For the past 60 years, Seitz-Agin has served the needs of people in Cleveland Heights and many nearby communities. And for the last 38 years, it has been run by owner Joel Borwick.
“I’m sorry to be closing, but the focus should be on the people in this incredible community who have supported our store for so long,” Borwick said.
One of those people, Judi Chamberlain, is a long-time resident of Cleveland Heights. She is just one of many customers who will be affected by the closing of Seitz-Agin.
“It was always great to go into their store," Chamberlain said. "Joel and his employees knew how to assist you with projects, whether you were replacing a doorknob or staining your deck. They will be sorely missed.”
There’s a special bond homeowners have with a local hardware store that can offer expert advice. This is especially true in a city such as Cleveland Heights, where the homes have sought-after historical features and charm, but are older and prone to various problems that come with age.
Other retailers in the area know Borwick as a friend.
Steve Presser, owner of on Coventry Road and a member of the Heights Independent Business Alliance, said, “Joel has been a friend to the community for more than 30 years. His store made shopping truly special, and that’s one cornerstone of what makes Cleveland Heights special.”
And local competitors are sympathetic.
“We’re very sad to see Seitz-Agin go away," said Andy Gathy, owner of on Coventry. "They’ve been kind to us over the years, even referring customers to us when they didn’t have something in stock.”
Although the store is closing, Borwick plans on maintaining his connection with the city.
“I’ll have more time to devote to the , of which I’m president. And I plan to become more involved with other community organizations.”
But residents will miss the service that can't be matched by bigger stores and Borwick's sense of humor.
As Chamberlain explains, “I once went into Seitz-Agin to buy an insulating jacket for my water heater. Joel showed me a package that just had plain white plastic inside. I asked, ‘Is that all there is to the jacket?’ And he replied, ‘What were you expecting, herringbone?’”