100-Year-Old California Store Shuts Down, Highlighting State’s Suffocating Business Environment

Alice Salles Comments

A store that’s been a staple in the Eagle Rock community in Southern California for 107 years is closing its doors. While the owner, 78-year-old Kevin Strauch, said that his business model can no longer survive in an online world, he admits that the state’s added burdens, such as minimum wage rules, have helped to make his decision final. 

Established in 1912, Eagle Rock Lumber Company remained afloat for decades because of its unique approach to the hardware business.

After two Home Depots opened nearby, Strauch made his lumber company the only place in town where homeowners could purchase vintage items such as old pull switches, redwood siding, and anything that the region’s 1920s-era homes required. 

Unfortunately, Strauch told reporters, that wasn’t enough to keep him going.  

“These kinds of circuit breakers for boxes they don’t even make anymore,” he said. 

The fact large retailers have dominated the market, as well as the availability of goods online, has made his business model difficult to maintain.

“The model for retail has changed dramatically with the web and the buying and competition and the big warehouse stores,” Strauch explained. What also changed was how expensive it became for business owners to run their business in current-day California. 

Saying that the homelessness problem taking over the state as well as the imposed minimum wage requirements have all contributed to his demise, he didn’t want to blame anybody for his store’s closure. Instead, he knows it’s time for him to walk away now.

“It’s hard for us to make any money,” he told reporters.

Only the Wealthy Can Afford Living in California

According to a study by the American Action Forum, the Golden State has some of the most burdensome regulations in the country. These rules, which make the cost of running business prohibitive to small business owners, also harm low-wage and low-skilled workers who are priced out of the labor market. Consumers, meanwhile, are left with fewer options as only a handful of large companies are able to sustain themselves in this environment. 

As Forbes explains, it is precisely because of California’s regulatory nightmare that business growth is sluggish in the state — especially when compared to states where the regulatory burden is much smaller. 

As small businesses and working-class Californians leave the state, the only ones left are those who are big enough to weather the costs, the miserable living on the streets, and those who rely on government assistance for support.

As California struggles to deal with the consequences of this progressive folly, the homeless take over the streets as the wealthy isolate themselves in Silicon Valley. In the meantime, stores that became a part of the California experience,s like Eagle Rock Lumber Company, become part of ancient history. 

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