It’s the end of an era for a West End Ventura family-owned business as Avenue Hardware calls it quits after 75 years of ownership.
First opened in 1927 by the Blanchard family, the business was handed to Tad Dewire’s grandfather in 1943. Dewire began working in the store at the age of 12 and now, at the age of 67, says that the store’s closing is “terribly emotional.”
“I’ve toyed with the idea for a couple of years; I hadn’t wanted to give it up,” said Dewire. Online sales and the falling price of oil are to blame for the store’s decline, he says, but in the end, the decision was made over the fact that Dewire wanted to enjoy life while he still has his health.
Dewire has undergone two hip replacement surgeries this year. With wife Denise, Dewire is ready for a “new chapter.” The site will be sold, which includes the house behind it, after remaining inventory has been liquidated.
Dewire says that without his faithful customers, the shop wouldn’t have survived for as long as it did. Living by his grandfather’s motto, “the grandest people we know are our customers,” Dewire says. Also thankful for his employees, Tim Whelan and Sam Rodriques, to name a few, and partner/co-owner Buzz Bafford, who he says “made the store run smoothly.”