Wauwatosa hardware store closing its doors after 116 years

  • Play

Video by tmj4.com

Wauwatosa hardware store closing its doors after 116 years

By Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Sep 9, 2013

WAUWATOSA -  It's the end of an era that spanned more than a century.

The owners of Robertson's Hardware store in Wauwatosa announced they will close their doors for good because of plunging sales and the new makeup of their community.

Jeff Rauh, whose father-in-law bought the original Robertson's in 1962, says most of the store's big clients moved away from Wauwatosa. Those include big hardware buyers like printing companies, roofers and manufacturers.

Rauh laments, though, that many locals will lose out.

"The tough part too is the customer," Rauh said. "Some of them have been coming for 50-60-70 years. I know them by name."

Robertson's history may include name and ownership changes, but the actual store and location date back to 1897, when the building was first constructed in Wauwatosa's central village.

Rauh is the store's only full-time employee, but seven part-timers will lose their jobs. Rauh's family will still own the building, and it plans to rent out the space to other retailers.

Jonah Kaplan

Jonah Kaplan

Email Facebook Twitter
Originally from Philadelphia, Jonah Kaplan loves the culture, character and pride of Milwaukee. He's won top awards for his reporting of breaking news and severe weather.