VANCOUVER, WA- Vancouver's oldest downtown business has decided to close. Sparks has been a cornerstone of business history for 132 years in the heart of the city.
The timing was right for fourth-generation owner Tom Craig. Craig said he's ready to retire and he got an offer from a developer to buy the building for $1.7 million.
It was too good to pass up.
The Sparks history dates back to 1882 when Washington wasn't even a state yet. Marshall Rowe Sparks started it all. First it was a tin-smithing shop, later a hardware store, then a department store, an appliance retailer, and finally a furniture store.
"A lot of people are sad about it," said Sparks owner Tom Craig. "Like, where are we going to buy furniture, and we're sorry to see you go."
Craig said over the years its been harder to compete. Washington's sales tax is 8.4 percent. It drives customers across the river to sales-tax-free Oregon.
For 15 years sparks has picked up the tax for Vancouver residents.
"A lot of people remember their grandparents buying furniture here, so there is a little sense of sadness," said Craig.
The one-block long half- a-block-wide store at Broadway Street and Evergreen Boulevard will close June15. The big going out of business sales begins in April. $1.5 million will be spent to upgrade the building. It will be converted for retail and office space.