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Joan Ogg shops at Rustic Hutch on Tuesday, so she can use gift cards before the stores close in the coming weeks.

Rustic Hutch to close after 40 years

Owners of Rustic Hutch want things done their way – even if it means closing up shop.

After 40 years, the local home furnishings retailer will cease business in the coming weeks. Operations Manager Scott Bodecker said the company's owners had discussions with several potential buyers but couldn't come to terms.

“They didn't want Rustic Hutch to look like a lot of the national retailers,” he said. “They wanted it ran in a manner consistent with what people in Fort Wayne have grown accustomed.”

Sticking points were product selection and customer service.

Bill and Diana Bodecker bought the business in 1975 after it was in operation for a year.

The company has had locations at Glenbrook Square, Georgetown Square, Southtown Mall, Village at Coventry and Dupont Crossing shopping center.

It presently has stores at Jefferson Pointe and 10202 Coldwater Road at Pine Valley Shopping Center.

Jefferson Pointe General Manager Mike Brooks said Rustic Hutch has its fans.

“I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will be sad to see them go,” he said. “They've been a really good retailer for us.”

The business will close Thursday to prepare for a store-closing sale that begins Aug. 15. The Bodeckers are unsure when their final day will be. The stores employ about 40 full- and part-time workers.

Rustic Hutch will liquidate $3 million in inventory, including furniture, accessories, specialty gifts and hand-knotted oriental rugs. The stores will take special orders beginning Aug. 15, as well.

“Diana and I are grateful to the wonderful customers and staff we have had the opportunity to serve over the last 40 years, and hope they have enjoyed getting to know us as much as we have enjoyed helping them,” Bill Bodecker said in a statement.

“Thanks to them, Rustic Hutch grew beyond what a newlywed farmer and teacher could have imagined,” he said.

pwyche@jg.net

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