BOZRAH — Bozrah Home and Hardware Owner and General Manager John Noblet said he’s pleased he’s closing his business on his own terms so he can retire.
“I’m glad we’re ending because we want to, not because we have to,” Noblet said.
It was announced a week ago that Bozrah Home and Hardware would be closing after about 38 years, so the owners can retire. Noblet said he is unsure when last day of business will be, but it will be around the week of Thanksgiving.
Noblet opened Bozrah Home and Hardware in 1983. Noblet said his father-in-law had a plot of land along Salem Turnpike that he wanted to develop, but the Town of Bozrah didn’t let him do it. Years after that first attempt Noblet tried again, and got the approvals needed to start building.
“I spoke to my wife about it, and she thought I was crazy,” Noblet said. “I spoke to my father-in-law about it, and he thought I was crazy.”
As for why he opened a hardware store, Noblet said he has been familiar with power tools and other equipment from when his family owned an automobile repair shop. Noblet also remembers running errands to an old hardware store Taftville, and he would spend hours looking at all the items there.
“It was more of my idea than the rest of the family,” Noblet said.
Noblet also liked hardware due to the versatility.
“If you’re not doing any business in the paint department, surely you’re going to do some business in the electrical department or the plumbing department.”
Noblet said he started with one of each item in stock, costing him $50,000, and he went from there to build more on to his store. Noblet said the store kept growing until the recession in 2008. Due a steady decrease in business since then, Noblet, 74, said he’s been planning to retire for the past two years.
“Connecticut’s changed over these years, and it seemed like a good time to move on,” Noblet said.
Noblet decided to close rather than sell the business because “mom and pop hardware stores are gradually coming to an end,” as people shop more at chain stores and online.
“The big box store offer a much bigger array and depth of product,” Noblet said. “They can go in and go out.”
Over the years, Noblet said people have stuck with him because of friendly service, problem solving, and good prices.
“We went out of our way to provide friendly atmosphere and good service,” Noblet said.
Looking forward, Noblet isn’t thinking of “going into the sunset.” Even though he said he’ll have more time for his hobbies, he’ll still want to have a working retirement, still working for another store with power tools. However, he’ll still miss his customers.
“I think that is a big measure of success that people have trust in you that people want to come to your store and want to support your business,” Noblet said. “We’re very proud of that.”
Griswold resident Robert King has been a customer of over 20 years. He often made quick visits to Bozrah Home and Hardware during his lunch breaks to figure out projects he needed to do.
“I knew that I was going to be taken care of,” King said.
Uncasville resident J.J. Koning was shopping Thursday, “so I can say I was in there before it closed.”
“I don’t know why we go to the big box stores when we have this in town,” Koning said. “They’ve done good, and everybody speaks highly of them.”