EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) -- After 53 years, Bush's Furniture on London Road is closing, and it is a decision that was made by its owners long before the pandemic began.
In 1987, Rick Bush and his wife Cyndie bought the furniture store from Rick's father, who owned it for 20 years. The pair ran the store old-school style and even kept the original ticket writer Rick's father used in the 1960s.
For Cyndie, being at her husband's side for all those years at the store was second nature.
"I didn't really have a choice! He would call me and say, 'oh can you come over and help me, we're unloading a truck,' or 'can you come over and help, we're swamped with customers,' and I'd just jump in the car and come right over," she said.
Despite quitting twice, she always came back to the store and to her beloved husband Rick, who passed away last December.
"About five years ago, he started having some problems. During that time we had talked about closing the store. We're both getting to be that 65, so we talked about closing the store at that time. Then in October [of last year], he was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia," she explained.
For Rick and Cyndie's children the store was a second home.
"We did go on family vacations but my dad would always call back to Brian to check in on the store and see how it was. Owning a business is like having an extra member of the family. You're constantly checking in and can't really get it away. You're always connected to it at some point," their daughter Rikki Mortl said.
Mortl said despite the fact that she and her brother decided not to continue running the family business, her dad was still very proud of both of them.
"I think it was something my dad was really proud of, to carry on the family business. He did a great job at it," Mortl said. "I knew from a young age that I was not born to be a salesperson. I think in my dad's heart he wishes my brother or I would've taken over the furniture store. But he knew I was not cut out to be in sales."
Though her husband, who she lived, worked, laughed and cried with, is not able to experience retirement with her, Bush is ready to let go of the store and spend more time with her family.
"We really want to be able to thank all of our customers and our friends over the years. We made a lot of good friends through the business. So it's been fun too," she said.
Bush is planning to officially close the store by the end of September and is having a going-out-of-business sale to clear inventory.