In Putnam County, the Buffalo Shopping Center has been in Susan Howard's family for more than 100 years. Right now, business is not so good, she said.
"I compared the figures from last year to this year and it's substantially less (in overall revenue)," Howard said.
Howard, who has a background in sales and marketing, said she's trying everything she can to keep the business afloat. At the first of the year the store added a thrift shop where customers could find quality, inexpensive items. They tried a "blowout" sale with everything in the store marked 50 percent off to stimulate sales.
"We made more money in that month than every other month combined," Howard said of the sale. She added the store could not keep prices that low to attract customers or they'd lose everything.
"Honestly, I've raked my brain so much I don't know what to do," she said. "I feel like right now, if I let it (the store) fail, it's failing on my watch."
She attributes the decline in business to a slow recovery economy and larger box stores such as Walmart and Home Depot moving into the area.
However, she hopes the Toyota expansion in Buffalo will bring in contractors looking for supplies.
"It might be new business but it doesn't last," she added.
Bryan Wilson, manager at Bob's Hurricane Hardware, said business has been stagnant for the last four or five years.
"We're bring in some new materials and rentals, so hopefully that will help business," Wilson said.
Both stores hope that by adding new products, they will eventually attract new customers.
Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.