Businesses close doors

COVINGTON - Less than two weeks after a Home Depot representative said plans for a second store in Newton County were dead, two local building supply stores are closing.

The 84 Lumber store on U.S. Highway 278 will be consolidated with a larger store in McDonough, according to a spokeswoman. The store closed Monday.

The McDonough facility is closer to 84 Lumber's new Atlanta Construction Service Hub in Cartersville that includes a door shop, engineered wood center and whole house installed sales program, spokeswoman Robyn Hall said.

"In each of our locations, we look at what best serves our customers. It makes better sense to consolidate to a neighboring store that has greater space," she said.

The Covington store opened in April 2001 and employed 13 people. Hall said she did not know if employees were able to transfer.

Associates are typically offered the chance to relocate when stores close or are consolidated, she said.

A leading supplier of building materials to commercial contractors, 84 Lumber announced this week it would consolidate nine stores in six states.

In 2006, the company announced the closing of 67 "no-growth" stores in 12 states in an effort to boost annual sales to $10 billion by 2009.

Hall said the state of the local housing market plays a role in deciding which stores will be closed.

"We obviously take a look at the level of housing starts in each area. We have to then evaluate whether that level is adequate enough, based on our operating model, to continue to operate the store in that area," she said.

Newton County Home Builders President Bob Goucher said recently that the housing market is "hurting," with a 48 percent decrease in building permits in 2007 than in 2006.

In related news, Spillers Trustworthy Hardware and Building Supply on Washington Street is also closing after 15 years in business.

A close-out sale starts Thursday, and owner A.J. Spillers said he will shut down for good by May 17, or sooner, if merchandise sells out.

"We don't have enough sales," he said, but added that he can't attribute that to the slumping housing market for certain.

"I'm sure that's a great part of it. There's no way of telling whether it's the risky economy, competition or poor management on my part or what," he said.

Spillers had six employees who were warned about the closing months ago and most have already left, he said.

On March 14, a Home Depot spokeswoman said a store proposed for Brown Bridge Road and Ga. Highway 212 was no longer in the works.

The spokeswoman said she had no details on why plans were scrapped.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.