Wenzl Hardware closes after 65 years of owning the shop

Nebraska City, Neb. (KOLN) - Walt and Rita will be out of the building at 906 Central Avenue in Nebraska City by August 1st. When they decided to sell it, this iconic fixture in Nebraska City sold in 2 weeks. Said Walt, the owner:

Walt and Rita sit outside of Wenzl Hardware. Walt has worked there for 76 years.

"It's been a good life."

He began working there after his first year of high school and bought it several years later. He's seen just about 8-decades of history from his shop windows. He and his wife also raised 6 children here in Nebraska City. They even did some of that parenting at work..

"We had a little basket back there and we kept the little babies in it," said Rita.

His children said they think their dad should have probably sold the store years ago. But they said, even though it feels like the right decision, it also feels like losing a part of their identity..

"Even when we sell the store, those memories will always be there," said Norbert Wenzl. "That will keep us going, keep the store alive in our hearts."

Their daughter Theresa Billmeier said, "Even though, it won't be a hardware store, it will never be replaced. I will always see my dad, sitting here, standing here at the front."

Walt says his secret to success all these years was his wife. Rita said, the key was hard work.

Walt said his family started talking about closing the store years ago.
But he said at the time, he still felt healthy. Now, he's 91 and undergoing dialysis. He said he has mixed emotions on finally closing the doors at Wenzl Hardware.

"I have emotions both ways on it," said Walt. "Some days I could cry, some days I'm happier than hell."