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Focus On Family At Escalon Lumber
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Family patriarch Marvin Schmidt, center, is flanked by daughter Linda (Schmidt) Gentry and son Randy Schmidt in the storefront at Escalon Lumber and Hardware on First Street. Marg Jackson/The Times

It was supposed to be a temporary job, just for a few weeks.

But that was 72 years ago.

Longtime Escalon Lumber and Hardware owner Marvin Schmidt has finally decided to retire, said his son Randy, after more than seven decades in the business. The patriarch is approaching his 92nd birthday, Oct. 27, and with the business location at 1455 First Street previously purchased, the phasing out of some portions of the hardware store has begun.

Randy Schmidt said there will still be a number of services offered at the familiar location, with he and his wife Nancy continuing ‘The Mill’ portion of the business on Roosevelt Avenue, behind the main storefront.

With Marvin retiring, daughter Linda (Schmidt) Gentry will also be able to retire and Randy said they are excited for the new chapter.

And even while there are plans in process to change the storefront into a mini office complex, Randy said customers will still be able to count on Escalon Lumber for some necessities.

“The business of Escalon Lumber will remain open, located at the mill on Roosevelt Avenue,” the family wrote in a letter being sent out to their customers. “We will continue to sell plywood, hardwoods, pine, glass, roofing, vinyl windows, screens and some miscellaneous items.”

The mill is where Randy has done his specialty woodworking for years and that business will also remain a key part of the family.

Services to continue include screens and rescreening, as well as glass cutting. The custom woodworking ranges from cabinets and furniture to antique restoration and milling work.

“We will also be able to do special orders for items such and lumber, hardware and metal roofing and vinyl windows,” the letter notes.

Randy said when his father first started in the business, he was just looking for a short term job but somehow, ended up buying the business and staying there for 72 years. Marvin still spends time in the store every day.

As they start closing the main storefront, a variety of hardware items will be going on sale.

“We appreciate all of your support and business over the years,” the letter added.

The familiar red siding has been taken off the Escalon Lumber and Hardware store on First Street, revealing the former name, Moorehead Lumber Co. Marg Jackson/The Times