By Tammy Schneider
Within days of reopening, the Lake Huron Rod and Gun Ltd. has announced plans to close its doors forever.
The store, originally known as Village Market Guns, was opened in 1976 by Brian Thomas, and sold everything from groceries to boots. When his son Brad returned to the area after serving in the armed forces, the father and son formed a partnership, in 1986. They renamed the store Lake Huron Road and Gun Ltd., and put the store’s focus on supplying goods for recreational hunting and fishing. Brad took full ownership of the store in 2002, and has built a solid reputation among anglers and hunters spanning three generations.
The store closed because of the pandemic on March 21, and finally reopened on May 26. Just days later, Thomas announced beginning June 3 it would begin clearing out all inventory.
“It came from a few things,” said Thomas.
He went on to say how COVID has hit retail businesses particularly hard. Businesses rely on sales to pay for inventory, staff and other expenses. He hadn’t planned on closing, until COVID happened.
With retirement in sight, Thomas is looking at spending some time relaxing, taking care of his health and enjoying more time with his wife. He plans on holding onto the building for a while, with the possibility of selling it in the future. His wife Carmen piped in with a suggestion that he better learn how to cook.
“It is what it is,” said Thomas. “You don’t stay young forever. There have been so many good customers over the years; generations of customers,”
Asked what he will miss the most, Thomas refers back to the customers and all the people he has met over the years.
“(I’ll miss) listening to stories, fishing stories and hunting stories, whether they were true or not,” he said. “Thanks to all the customers for coming in over the years. We have really appreciated your business.”
By Tammy Schneider