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Shea’s Hardware to close doors

After nearly 70 years in operation, Shea’s Hardware Inc. will shutter its doors on Oct. 14, according to owner/president Bernie Shea.

The real estate and all the buildings, located at 266 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, have been sold to local businessman Mark Stemler. Efforts to reach Stemler in time for today’s publication were unsuccessful.

Shea, who did not disclose the sales price, got choked up as he suggested that the time has come for he and his wife/co-owner, Debbie, to retire.

“It’s a very emotional roller coaster for me; I’ve been here 46 years,” Shea said. “Debbie and I are retiring; it’s just time for us to move on, enjoy our grandchildren and families.”

Shea said his father, Donald Shea Jr., bought the business from Bert Shipe in 1954.

Shea said both buildings burned in a fire in May 1962 and his father rebuilt in 1965 to the original footprint of the store.

Within eight years, Shea said his father added two large additions.

From there, he said the business expanded in the early 1980s after it purchased the former Segel's (By the Bridge) department store.

“My father told me either I come back to the business with him, or he would have to sell it because he couldn’t do it himself,” Shea said.

Throughout its illustrious run, the business was more than just about the nuts and bolts.

It was also a go-to stop for paint, hardware, plumbing and electrical items, snow shovels and Christmas decorations.

Additionally, it was a top seller of school sports shirts and uniforms, as well as shoes and sneakers and other sporting goods items.

To celebrate the store’s closing, Shea said the business will hold a four-week retirement sale starting Monday, with a progressive sales structuring over the course of those weeks up through the week of Oct. 9.

He said business hours will remain 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8-5 Saturday.

The business has seven employees. Shea said he will be forever grateful for the employees and the devoted customer base.

“Certainly this business could not have survived without our dedicated and loyal employees,” he said. “They were the backbone to this business, and the wonderful customers that we’ve had, Palmerton and their surrounding communities.”

After nearly 70 years in operation, Shea's Hardware Inc. in Palmerton has been sold and will close on Oct. 14. From left: Debbie Shea, co-owner, Bernie Shea, owner/president, Patty Hawk, office manager. Back, from left: Brad Dorshimer, paint department manager, Jeff Miller, sporting goods manager, and George Kattner, sales department manager. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
From left, George Kattner, sales department manager, and Bernie Shea, owner/president, Shea's Hardware Inc. in Palmerton, assist a customer Wednesday morning. The business has been sold and will close on Oct. 14. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS