Our Town business is staple in community

By Anna Carrera

Published 08/06 2014 03:10PM

Updated 08/06 2014 05:34PM

WESTVILLE -- A lot is still the same at a Vermilion County hardware store. That's how the owners like it. Latoz Hardware is one of the oldest businesses in Our Town. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera introduces us to the family who keeps it up and running.

When it comes to the family business, the Latoz kids started young.

"I was three, Vic was four," said co-owner DeAnna Latoz. 

"I was four, going on five," said co-owner Victor Latoz. "And then, when I got to grade school, I would dust counters."

Their father opened the store in 1946. The pair literally grew up in these aisles.

"A lot of times, in the evenings, when we were kids, we had roller skates," said DeAnna. "We would roller skate up and down the concrete aisles. It was a lot of fun."

Victor and DeAnna are in charge now, giving guests the same old-fashioned, personalized service you might expect. Even though a lot of the decor is the same as it's been through the years, you won't see anything with an engine anymore.

"We got to the point where a $349 lawnmower were were selling, we made $25 profit on it and we just couldn't compete with the big box stores around," said Victor. 

Instead, there are more niche items like beer- and wine-making supplies. But, with whatever they have, the Latoz family says they're proud to stock the shelves for people in Our Town.

Most people on the store's payroll are family members. Victor and Deanna's mother worked there until she was 95. The siblings plan to keep going there for as long as they can.

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