After being in business for almost four decades, Cline Hardware, at 19 S. Main St. in Jeffersonville, will be closing down within the next few weeks.
Back in the early 1900’s, M.F. Hudson opened his Hardware and Harness Shop where Main Street is in Jeffersonville. In 1905, a devastating fire left most of the block burnt to the ground. Several businesses suffered, but through sheer work and determination, the community helped to rebuild the block within a year and business was able to resume. For the next, roughly, 40 years, Hudson would run his store until Clarence Stuckey took over until the 50’s. More years passed and the building transferred ownership to Boren and Stempfle, who controlled their own hardware store until the 60’s. Jack Montgomery then took over and had ownership until 1979, when Dick and Kay Cline took over the store under the Trustworthy Hardware brand.
Now, in 2016, the couple has decided to retire after selling the building. This process has taken some time and to prepare for the closing, the couple has been selling all items, as of Thursday, at a 70 percent discount. Many items, including screws, some paint, tools, belts and other products are still available.
“For all of the loyal customers, we want to say we appreciate your business,” Dick Cline said during an interview Thursday. “It has been rewarding to be able to work with the community to help solve some of those issues they came in for. We have done plumbing, and I work on small engines, so we have had people coming in to get help on those projects. It was always challenging, but fun to try and figure out what they were working on. We all use different terminology and it was interesting to try and work out exactly what they needed.”
The Clines were not only business owners for all of those years, but also took part in helping to shape the community. Since they started the business, the couple has supported 4-H every year. Lining one wall of the store, indicators of each year’s support can be seen.
The couple also helped out as advisors, but their outreach did not end there. Dick worked to help bring several businesses and attractions to Jeffersonville, including the bank. Kay has helped as a volunteer at the Jeffersonville Church of Christ where she currently helps with the food bank. The couple’s generosity was always present, especially for some customers who, according to Kay, Dick would not charge because he could not help solve their problem, even after spending hours, days or longer of his own time trying to solve it.
“We have made friends in the community. It’s hard to be here as long as we have and not do that,” Dick said. “People have told us that we have sacrificed to make sure they were taken care of and that they really appreciate what we did. Many times we would not even have people coming in to buy things, they just knew this is where we would be and would come visit and talk to us. We have talked weather, politics and many other topics with plenty of people.”
Of course, a trip to Cline Hardware would not be complete without the couple’s trusty third employee, Dick Gordon. Gordon has been with them since the early 1990’s, completing over 20 years in the business himself. When the couple would be off helping at their church or working on other projects, Gordon would handle the store. Lately, according to Kay, Gordon has also been helping to unload trucks for the food bank.
“We are going to be doing some traveling, but we have plenty of projects at home that we have neglected since we were at the store six days a week,” Dick said when asked about his retirement plans.
“We will still be going to doctor’s appointments and have plenty of things to do,” Kay added.
Dick said that he is glad to have had the business he did, and for the people who supported them over the years. Not only were they good, loyal customers, they also provided the couple with great conversation and excellent friends. So as Jeffersonville says goodbye to Cline Hardware, the couple will be saying hello to more time to themselves as they continue supporting their community as they have since day one.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy