A family affair

Third generation businesses survive, thrive in Camas-Washougal

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Aaron Lutz, owner of Lutz Hardware, chats with customers Steve and Barb Loewen. The Loewens, both teachers at Camas High School, picked up their screen door that was rescreened at the hardware store in downtown Camas.

The third generation owners of some small businesses in Camas and Washougal do not take their success for granted. They know their customers are loyal if they are provided with great service.

Aaron Lutz, owner of Lutz Hardware for almost a decade, has worked at the store since he was a child. He remembers watching the TV show, “Happy Days,” and wanting to name the hardware store after his family, just like the character of Howard Cunningham owned Cunningham’s Hardware.

Lutz’s grandparents, George and Cassie Lutz, opened the hardware store in 1950, and Lutz’s parents, Barry and Rosie Lutz, purchased the store in 1970.

Lutz, 44, said his stepson, Jackson Pan, 9, has expressed interest in running the store in the future.

Lutz Hardware, which sells windshield wipers, bakeware, shelving, nuts and bolts, sandpaper and house paint, also rents U-Haul trucks and trailers.

Lutz said the most important part of running a business is to help people.

“People can go anywhere to shop,” he said. “You have to be good to them and know the product. Spend the time and know what they need. It’s what we’re known for.”

Lutz said it was a challenge when he first purchased the business.

“Customers would ask ‘where’s Barry? Or they would call me Barry Jr.,” he said.

Business furnishes Camas-Washougal

Dave and Molly Fletcher have owned One Stop Home Furnishings, in Camas, since the late 1980s.

Dave Fletcher said in order to succeed they have had to keep up with trends and attend furniture markets twice a year.

Customer service is also important, Dave said.

“In larger cities, sometimes customer service is not as personal as a hometown store,” he said. “Trust is a big thing.”

Mickey and Hazel Schwary founded One Stop Home Furnishings in 1954. Two years later, their daughter, JoAnne, and her husband, Winn, purchased the business.

Winn and JoAnne are Dave’s parents.

Dave, 61, said owning the furniture business is still fun, and he is enjoying it.

“A lot of nice customers supported us during the recession,” he said. “Challenges can be navigated. We can’t do it without local support.”

Washougal Lumber celebrates 100th anniversary

Owners of Washougal Lumber Co., Inc. — past and present — celebrated the company’s centennial in August of 2017.

The business’ current owners, Brett Scott and his brother Kevin Scott, were at the luncheon celebration, along with their parents and former Washougal Lumber owners, John and Judy Scott.

“This is in appreciation of all the good people who kept it going during the terrible economic times,” Judy said. “We are just glad to be here.”

Washougal Lumber sells hammers, mailboxes, shovels and WD-40, as well as paint, plywood, metal roofing and plumbing and electrical supplies.

“This place would not exist without the great local support of the community,” Brett said. “They support this and other locally owned businesses.”