Vern Ziegler was all smiles as he greeted old friends, mingled with longtime customers and talked about Ziggy’s beginnings at the Market Street store in Hillyard.
The flagship home improvement store that opened in 1965 is closing on Nov. 20 to make way for the North Spokane Corridor.
“We’re having an old-timers meeting here,” Ziegler said. “It’s been kind of nostalgic.”
On Tuesday, the Ziegler family – Vern, his wife, Mary, and sons, Reid, Neil, Dean and Karl – invited folks to the store to eat doughnuts and cake, have a cup of coffee and reminisce.
“Lots of old friends stopping by,” said Reid Ziegler, the oldest of the four sons.
Bob Taylor was among them. He has known Vern Ziegler since their first day of school at Spokane’s Arlington Elementary. The longtime contractor is a friend, a former business partner and longtime Ziggy’s customer.
Taylor and Vern Ziegler built houses together before Ziegler decided to start his business, and Taylor not only helped build the first Ziggy’s, but he also went on to construct all three Spokane stores.
“Sad to see it go, but I guess that’s progress,” said Taylor, who bought much of his building supplies from Ziggy’s.
“You know what’s great is the relationship you develop with customers,” Vern Ziegler said. “They’ve been real loyal. The employees are loyal, too.”
Two of them, who have been working there for 40 years, were also at the celebration.
“I felt like I was part of something,” said Bob Aho, 59. Some of his loyalty was attributed to the Ziegler family’s appreciation of a good, hard worker. “As an hourly employee, I was allowed to work 80 hours per week. I wanted the money, and we were growing so fast that anyone with any sense of what was going on could work as much as they wanted to.”
And Aho, who handles some of the store’s advertising, says he’s still not ready to retire.
Hundreds have graced the doors of the Market Street store in recent days to say goodbye or take advantage of the moving sale. While most of the store’s contents will be moved to Ziggy’s on East Holland Avenue, only one crucial fixture from the infrastructure will be removed and prominently displayed at one of the stores.
“My mom made my dad wait for me and my brothers before he poured the cement,” said Reid Ziegler, who was 4 years old at the time and his baby brother, Karl, was nearly 2. “We put our handprints in the floor.”