Longtime Reinholds store closes

By on February 5, 2014

“You just get tired after a while and you give up a little bit,” said Jonathan Haws, owner of Sweigart’s Floor Covering. “I think that’s what happened.”

Jonathan and Robin Haws recently closed the doors to their Reinholds business, Sweigart’s Floor Covering. (Photo by Michele Walter Fry)

Jonathan and Robin Haws recently closed the doors to their Reinholds business, Sweigart’s Floor Covering. (Photo by Michele Walter Fry)

Sweigart’s had been dwindling for the last five years and finally closed its doors in early January.

“I guess mainly it was my doing. You have to grow with it and people are geared to big now-a-days. They go to the big stores now like Lowe’s and The Home Depot,” said Haws. “Most of our business was repeat work where we worked for the same people again and again over the years. That kind of business has gone.”

“Years ago, when you bought a house, it was probably where you would be the rest of your life,” Haws continued. “It’s not like it is today where people buy to start out and think they’re going to get bigger and they don’t stay … so they don’t really think about keeping stuff for a long period of time.”

Sweigart’s, located at 68 E. Main St., has been an anchor of the village community. Haws first came to the address in 1969 as an employee of Edgar L. Sweigart who started the business in 1941. After Sweigart passed away, Haws bought the business from Sweigart’s wife in 1975.

I have three sons and a daughter,” said Haws. “That’s Perry, my oldest,” he said as Perry was walking from the next-door house. “That’s as far as we could get him so far,” joked Haws. Perry, now a custodian at Ephrata High School, started working for his dad out of high school up until the business closed.

“We also did a lot of big jobs for builders like Doneckers, when they built the men’s store and all the guest houses, D&E, and a lot of places in Reading,” said Perry.

It was a family business with Robin, Haws’ wife, and all the kids at some point working for him.

“We bought the store when Jenny was two,” said Robin. “She used to take a nap on the cot back in the linoleum racks. Bradley cut his fingertip off.”

“Almost everyone knows the inside of this house because I had my kids and everybody came here. I always had a lot of kids here and they all came back after they went to school. Everybody’s in the kitchen.”

Robin is a collector of “a bunch of dumb stuff over the years,” and with antique chocolate pots on display (yes, especially for hot chocolate). It’s not hard to see why she was a popular mom on the block.

When asked of his future plans, Jonathan said, “I’m going to very much do nothing.”

“The business did us good,” he continued. “We raised four kids and put two through college and I don’t owe anyone any money. We didn’t really advertise. It was all word-of-mouth and we want to say thank you to all those customers who stuck with us for all those years.”

While the new owner of the building on Main Street is converting it into a home, Jonathan and Robin Haws will be one block away sitting on their porch reading mystery and political books.

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