Lexington, SC (WLTX) - One area of the economy that has been the hit the hardest: construction work. Local businesses that sell supplies in that industry have been hurting too.
"Most of our business is the homeowner, the do-it-yourself guy," explained Depot Building Supply owner Thom Neal, "If any of them ask us any questions, and we try to help them find something and show them how to do something if they don't know."
For 32 years, Neal has spent his time with customers and friends at his store in Lexington. "We figured business would be pretty steady here and it has been till this recession, which nobody predicted was gonna last this long," he explained.
But the downturn led him to an important decision. "Somebody told me one time, he said, 'Neal, nobody [wi]ll have to tell you when to retire, you'll know it's time,' so I knew it was time," he laughed.
For those do-it-yourselfers, it is a great chance to stock up for future projects. But for some, the lower cost comes at a price. "This has been one of my stopping points, when you're doing a chore around the house, a fix-it-up, one of those honey-do things," said Paul Rawl.
He has walked up and down these aisles for as many years as they have been here. "We'll manage somehow, but it won't change the fact that this is a loss for us," he said.
And even though it is time, Neal will surely feel that way too - once there are no more homeowners' questions to answer. "Well, when we get through with this, I'll probably take off a few weeks and come back out of retirement early," he laughed.
There is some good news for folks in that area though; the family is going to keep the property where the store sits. They may eventually offer some of the services that people came to rely on Depot for.