In retirement, Bob Moore is looking forward to spending more time with his business partner.
Twenty years ago, Moore and wife Yvonne Walmsley took over ownership of what was then MacLeod’s-True Value hardware store (and later became Tru Hardware) on Main Street . Last Wednesday at 5 p.m., when Moore locked up the store, it was for the last time.
Moore says the store is closing because he and Walmsley wish to retire, and because the local economy has made it impossible to sell the business.
“I am very, very sorry we couldn’t find someone who was willing to run the store, but seeing the financials over the last three years, I’m not surprised,” says Moore.”I enjoyed almost every minute of running the store. But I’m in spitting distance of 70 now and time is time.”
Moore says what he’s looking forward to most in retirement is having days off to spend with his wife.
“Outside of vacation, either one or the other of us has been working at that store, so we just didn’t have a day off together,” says Moore. “So I’m looking forward to that.”
What brought Moore to Sicamous was a desire to find a business that didn’t require a lot of politics.
“I was coming out of 20 years as a labour relations guy, and my wife was coming out of just about the same amount as an academic with Grant MacEwan College,” says Moore. “So we both just wanted to try the small-town life.”
Over the years, Moore has established deep roots in the community – which includes three grandchildren –and he has no plans or desire to leave.
“We like the community. It’s a retirement community even if that wasn’t planned,” laughs Moore.
Moore says he will miss his three staff members who have been with the store so long they are very much family in his eyes, though not as close as some had thought.
“When we were relatively new in town, everybody assumed that every woman working at the store was my wife,” says Moore. “Very few people ever got it right, because they treat me like, you know, they nag me, they yell at me and give me a bad time… I shouldn’t say that. I’m certainly very fond of my staff and I’m highly respectful of them.”
Moore will also greatly miss his customers, including those he refers to as his widows.
“I had people who I saw two or three times a week. My widows as I called them,” says Moore, “the ones who used to say Harry used to do this but he’s gone now; can you give me a hand?”
Asked about his handyman skills, however, Moore admits to being fumble-fingered.
“I was a theoretical handyman – I knew how to do things but I couldn’t do them…,” says Moore. “I knew the theory, so I could tell people how to do them, but if I tried to do them I’d end up dropping things and cutting myself.”
Moore explained how over the years, business became guided by patterns of local phenomena. These included the annual influx of floods, tourists, mosquitoes and hummingbirds.
“The first time a hummingbird is sighted in Sicamous, everybody hears about it within a couple of days, and we used to sell almost our entire year’s supply of hummingbird feeders in the space of two weeks,” laughs Moore. “Because they are very territorial, and if you don’t feed them when they arrive, they go to where they are fed and they stick there so long as there’s food.”
While owning a hardware store may not make you rich, says Moore, it has provided a rewarding life that part of him is terribly sad to be leaving.
“Doing this is really like, what the Irish used to say, “the tears and the laughter fight on your face,” says Moore.
“Because I will miss being in the store, and I will miss all of the people that I see on a regular basis. But, on the other side, I am really looking forward to spending some time in the company of my wife, spending more time with my dog, that sort of thing.”