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Mickelsen’s Home Center says goodbye after 82 years of service

Local Business

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REXBURG – After serving the community for 82 years, one longtime Rexburg hardware store is closing its doors.

“We’re just happy to have the business we’ve had and sorry we have to go,” co-owner Charles Mickelsen says.

Mickelsen’s Home Center on West 1st North has specialized in lumber and hardware since it was founded in 1937 by then-Rexburg Mayor Peter Mickelsen. Now the family is writing the final chapter of the business.

“We’ve always been here, it’s just always been a family thing,” co-owner Dave Mickelsen says.

After putting the business on the market for the last year, the owners say no one has expressed interest and it’s time for them to move on.

“I would have loved to have just sold the business and had somebody else come in and continue serving Rexburg but that hasn’t happened,” Mickelsen says.

Mickelsen’s Home Center is located at 142 W 1st N in Rexburg. | Natalia Hepworth,

The store is having a closeout sale and has listed everything in the building as 20 percent off, earlier this week it was 10 percent. Dave Mickelsen hopes to have everything out of the store by June 14.

“I hope everything sells by then because I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,” Mickelsen says.

He says a lot of factors have contributed to the digression of the business over the last few years including lack of knowledgeable workforce, turnover with university student employees, road construction near his storefront and internet sales.

“Internet sales definitely hit hard. We used to sell a lot to the apartment buildings in town and that’s not happening anymore,” Mickelsen says.

He says when the city changed 1st North from a two-lane road to a four-lane road in 2016, that year he lost 70 percent of his customer base.

Dave Mickelsen in his on-site saw shop. | Natalia Hepworth,

“We used to have seven parking stalls our front for customers and the city put for lanes in front of our store here and since that happened we only had two parking stalls and that really has hurt customer count,” Mickelsen says.

Mickelsen says the store has gone through a lot of people and he feels he’s trained at least half of the town, speaking of past employees. He says he’s hung a “Help Wanted” sign on the door for the last year and has had no luck in keeping workers.

“One of the issues currently is it’s hard to find qualified employees that want to work and install and build,” Mickelsen says.

Taken by Natalia Hepworth,

The store specializes in lumber paint, electrical, hardware, plumbing—really anything to do with homebuilding. The company’s door and window shop are located in the back of their two-acre property. He says back in the day they used to sell appliances among other things.

“When I first started here we delivered coal,” Mickelsen says. “I know of probably 10 to 15 houses we’ve built in Rexburg itself … we were at one time, one of the only lumber yards. That was before the Teton Dam broke.”

Mickelsen says he’s done a lot and seen a lot. As his journey with the shop is coming to an end he’d like his customers to know he appreciated them, and he’ll miss them.

“We’d just like to sell it out and I guess move on with life,” Mickelsen says.

Lineup of family members who’ve owned Mickelsen’s in the past. Owners say the only way to make it on the wall is if you’ve passed on. | Natalia Hepworth

Lineup of family members who’ve owned Mickelsen’s in the past. Owners say the only way to make it on the wall is if you’ve passed on. | Natalia Hepworth