Building center bids adieu to competitor as it cites Home Depot effects for closing of local business

SEQUIM — While other local readerboards cheer on the Seattle Seahawks, one downtown business did a different kind of rooting for the home team.

“Happy 1st anniversary Home Depot,” reads the first line of the message above Thomas Building Center, 301 W. Washington St.

Below that, the kicker: “We will truly miss Rookards Do It Best.”

The readerboard was Thomas’ way of calling attention to the closure of its fellow locally owned business, Rookard Hardware.

Rookard’s last day of business was Jan. 21 at 225 E. Washington St., just before Home Depot, anchor of the Sequim Village Marketplace, celebrated its first year in business on Jan. 26.

“We’ve been working on this message for two weeks to make sure it was worded right,” said Thomas Building Center owner Andrew Thomas.

He sees his readerboard as a voice for Sequim.

“We don’t do it for attention. We do it to make sure things are understood,” said Thomas, 34.

“We’re fast to react.”

‘Lost a good competitor’

When he saw the Home Depot anniversary coming, he called his father, Rand Thomas, to talk about readerboard wording.

“He said he’d also like to give best wishes to the Rookards,” Andrew said.

“We lost a good competitor,” when Rookard’s went out of business. Home Depot “was the nail in the coffin.”

Willy Rookard, whose family ran the hardware store for some 20 years, said business never recovered from the initial Home Depot hit.

Rookard’s, a 7,000-square-foot store under the Do It Best Corp. umbrella, provided superior customer service, he said.

Still, Home Depot’s 102,000-square-foot store and 30,000-square-foot garden center pulled droves of shoppers away.

Rookard’s had been losing about 125 customers a day when its owner decided to liquidate.

“People wanted us to hang on longer,” said Rookard, 38.

“We figured there was no sense beating a dead horse.”

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