At Tuscola Home Center, patrons ‘can count on us’ –

April 10, 2022 by No Comments

TUSCOLA — As the executive director of Tuscola Chamber and Economic Development Inc., Brian Moody knows the local business community better than anyone.

He points to the Tuscola Home Center as a “key business” in the community.

“I think its very existence says something about the strength and vitality of Tuscola,” he said. “It is an essential partner to our business community, providing the parts and materials and essential items which allow so many to keep moving their own projects forward. It provides our citizens and businesses with a center for supplies and keeps the dollars from their purchases local, circulating in our local economy. So many small communities struggle to reduce leakage when residents and businesses make purchases from outside our area.”

On Oct. 1, 1970, Jim and Kay Higgins opened their doors at 407 E. Southline Road to serve the public for the very first time.

“I had a friend, and his parents owned the Western Auto Store in Tuscola at the time,” Jim said.

Western Auto was a specialty retail chain of stores that supplied auto parts and accessories. The Tuscola store was one of about 1,200 across the United States.

“My friend and I went to college together and then started working at Firestone in Decatur,” he said. “He moved to Detroit, but one time he came home to visit, and I found out his parents were interested in selling the store.”

Jim had a degree in engineering, but he didn’t feel that was his true calling.

“My problem was that I wasn’t a team player,” he said. “Many times with those big companies, you are just a number. I knew I would be better off being in business for myself.”

Jim and Kay bought the business but knew they would have to adapt. They started selling hardware and lumber.

“Back then, there were K-Marts all over the place, and they were doing big business,” he said. “Walmart was not as big as they are now, but then slowly, the big-box stores started coming around.

“The Menards and the Home Depots and the Lowe’s were popping up everywhere. We learned to live with them. They are tough competition, but we can survive with them.”

Jim says he appreciates the loyalty of his customers.

“Back a long time ago, you had loyal customers,” he said. “Your service meant something. That’s gone for the most part. There are still people in their 60s and 70s who remember, but it is going away fast. It won’t be there much longer.

“But there was a time when people appreciated your service and they were loyal. They would give you a chance. They may not always buy from you, but they would at least give you a chance. They would get a price from you. But today, there is not so much loyalty. There is some, but not like it used to be.”

The Tuscola store underwent a number of changes and eventually became the Tuscola Home Center. It now includes a full-service lumber yard, home decor design, in-stock flooring, appliance and appliance repair, outdoor power equipment and service, equipment rental, Carhartt clothing and Red Wing shoes, one of central Illinois’ largest selection of in-stock grills, and the hardware needed for any home or home repair.

And, not forgetting their roots, automotive parts and service are still available.

“This business has so much to offer to …….



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