"The times, they are a changing."

No, I am not referring to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on DOMA or Prop 8, but another loss of a friend -- Orchard Supply Hardware.

Sadly it wasn't that long ago that the OSH store off Somersville Road closed. And just in the last few months OSH filed for bankruptcy and the Bankruptcy Court approved the sale to Lowe's.

The decision Lowe's had to make was which stores it was going to keep and convert to a Lowe's, and which store location is was going to simply closed down.

Just last week I had stopped at the OSH at Williamson Ranch Plaza to pick up some items and everything was normal. They even asked if I had my OSH card, which they entered with the items I was purchasing.

Then Saturday I made a stop at the Big 5 store to get a new pair of shoes and as I drove in off Lone Tree Way I was taken aback with the large banner on the OSH store announcing its closeout sale! There also were more cars than usual in the OSH parking lot.

So after selecting and purchasing my shoes at Big 5, I had to go over to see if it was true about our OSH closing.

From a business perspective, the decision to close the remaining Antioch OSH made since, since Antioch already has two Lowe's store.

One thing I always noticed was it OSH always seemed to have those really hard-to-find items that you couldn't find at Lowe's or Home Depot.


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For instance, when I had to install a new kitchen range exhaust fan, I bought the new one at Lowe's. But when I went to install it, the packaging did not include the 8-inch butterfly damper that was required.

Strangely, neither Lowe's nor Home Depot carried the butterfly damper, yet both sold the same kitchen hood exhaust fans.

When I went back to Lowe's to ask where I could find one, the assistant told me that OSH carried them! Off I was to OSH and lo and behold, they had them as a regular stocked item.

So now the question is: With Lowe's taking over OSH, will they stock those items which only OSH seemed to have?

Of course this is another blow to Antioch's retail base, not to mention the jobs that will disappear.

For those of us who have been in Contra Costa County for some five decades, we now only have fond memories of Payless, White Front, Montgomery Ward, Mervyns, Gottschalks, Emporium, Simon Hardware, and the list goes on.

I suppose some will call it progress and others will call it survival of the fittest in the business world. But to me, it is like a loss of an old, trusted friend.

Arne Simonsen is the Antioch city clerk. He can be contacted at arne@arnesimonsen.com.

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