- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

BOSTON, Ind. (AP) - Central Furniture and Carpeting is going out of business after 55 years.

Boston Township Trustee Patrick Stack can remember when the town of about 300 had a restaurant, two gas stations, a grocery and a hardware store. Before Stack’s time, there was even a bank. All have disappeared. Even the post office is slated for closure.

And now Central Furniture is going too. The last retail business in town.

Stack doesn’t seem unduly concerned.

“I believe something good is going to come out of it,” he told the Palladium-Item (http://pinews.co/1doU5Zr ). “I don’t think it’s going to be an abandoned building.”

Wayne Hoit, who owns Central Furniture with his wife, Tammy, said there has been some interest in the building and perhaps in the business itself.

“We’ll see how that goes,” he said

But Hoit is ready to retire. “There’s just so long you can do this,” he said.

Hoit first worked for the store in 1967, when he was in high school. He came from his home in Illinois to work for Central Furniture owner Howard Cane, his father’s uncle, cutting carpet for a summer.

He was hooked.

Hoit went to college to study business administration and accounting, then was back in Boston as soon as he graduated in 1972. He did “basically everything” at the store.

“You just do it all when it’s a small business,” he said.

Hoit also met his future wife, a Boston girl whose mother still lives across the street from the store.

Stack said Cane was a hotel owner who got started in the business to furnish his hotels. For a while, Cane set up furniture showrooms in his home. The store was built in 1967.

Cane sold the business to Eugene Starr and Jack Wright. Hoit bought into the partnership and, when they retired, bought their shares. He and Tammy Hoit became sole owners in 1992.

During their early years as owners, the business was thriving. At one point, there were as many as seven employees.

Now, there are three, including Hoit himself. Tammy Hoit hasn’t been actively involved in the store for several years. She is a massage therapist at Reid Hospital, currently on hiatus because of an injury.

When he made the decision to go out of business, Hoit enlisted the help of Dillman’s Furniture in Peru, which has a division that specializes in liquidations.

The sale has been going on for a month, and Hoit said it probably will continue for another month.

All of the merchandise on sale is Central Furniture stock that had been warehoused elsewhere.

The response has been tremendous.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised, to say the least,” said Derek Dillman.

“You cannot believe the amount of stuff going out of here,” Hoit said.

Ginny Roehler of Centerville was shopping at the store recently with her mother, Claudette Wissler.

“We’ve been wanting to come and look,” said Roehler. She was saddened about the closing.

“Any business going out of business any time is terrible,” she said.

In a way, though, the store has been an anomaly for years.

“People are very surprised when they find a store like this in Boston,” Hoit acknowledged.

But he said Boston has been a wonderful place to do business.

“We have never experienced any problems,” said Hoit. He credits the neighbors. “They just look out for you.”

One of those neighbors is Stack, who has lived across from the store the whole time it has been open.

“Boston has always been a very close-knit community,” Stack said. “Everyone watches out. … We’re still doing what communities used to do a long time ago, I think.”

Stack thinks the store will find a buyer. “I hear a lot of good vibes,” he said. “Numerous people interested.”

But, he said, it will be hard to replace the reputation of Central Furniture and Hoit.

“People would say to me that the furniture that Wayne sold was where antiques come from,” Stack said. “Obviously, for that place to stay in business (more than) 50 years, they had to be doing something right.”

So what is next for Hoit?

“Wherever God leads me,” he said. “I don’t know where, but I do know He led me to this point.”

___

Information from: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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