Sadly, Fritz Lumber, the oldest place of business in Berwyn is closing its doors after a century and a half of service to the community and is residents.
The history of the William H. Fritz Lumber Company began in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was in office. Henry Fritz and his soon-to-be wife Mary Lobb decided to open a coal and lumber business in their hometown community of Reeseville, known today as Berwyn. Within a few short years, the business would prosper.
After 153 years, the fifth-generation of Fritz Lumber has decided to close its doors. Howard Fritz sent the following letter to the Easttown Board of Supervisors, detailing the sale of the business.
I would like to formally announce to you that the Wm. H. Fritz lumber company’s property is under agreement of sale to Eadeh Enterprises. Eadeh Enterprise is a very responsible and community minded organization as you all know. The business at Fritz, will remain open till all inventory is sold. Presumably by September 1, 2016.
This decision has been a very long and painful process. Wm. Fritz (Bill) is in his eighty seventh year and wishes to retire. I am sixty two and have health issues and concerns for both myself and my dear wife Roberta. My two adult children do not have an interest or desire to continue in this business. Neither have building experience or knowledge of it, nor do they have the required, management skills needed to sustain a viable and prosperous supply company.
It is very disappointing to have to close a family business that has been in existence since the civil war…153 years ago. With that said…I am very grateful to our community and the Easttown Township for the many years of support. The Fritz family has been active community members….past and present. From helping to start a bank, a church and Station II. To most recently, our vocation for the Berwyn/Devon business Assoc., Veteran Assoc., Easttown Tricentennial, and the park and recreation committee to name a few.
We also joyfully received the same high paying compensation the supervisors receive for all their hard work and efforts!! All jokes aside…l am honored to be allowed the opportunity to serve this very fine community which I lived in for twenty plus years. Obviously timely communications between us is an absolute must. We may be reached at our office at 610 – 644-0608 for any questions or concerns on this matter. Once again… we sincerely thank you all… and wish everyone the very best.
Sincerely, (and perhaps regretfully),
V.P. WM. H. Fritz Inc.
Redevelopment decisions by the new owners of the property, Eadeh Enterprise (another old business name in the community) will be guided by Berwyn Village zoning ordinance changes of 2013. At that time, the plan approved by Easttown supervisors placed the Berwyn Village properties into three districts: Village Business, Village Residential and Village Transition.
The ordinance change allowed that the buildings located in the Berwyn Village could stay exactly as they were in 2013 – whether retail, multi-family or single family. However, if the building was sold, torn down or re-developed, it would need to conform to the new zoning requirements. At the time the zoning ordinance was passed, some local residents were concerned that the neighborhood feel of Berwyn could be lost, depending how redevelopment were to occur — pointing to multi-story East Side Flats on King Street in Malvern as an example of what could happen.
For those concerned about the demands that the various land development projects are placing on the TE School District — Wayne Glen, Parkview at Chesterbrook, Station Square, etc.- the redevelopment of the Fritz Lumber site may pose another.
But regardless of Eadeh’s plans for the property, it is safe to say that after 150 years, the appearance of Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn is about to change.
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No small feat to have made it this long. To be sorely missed–thanks for all the great service, and old timey as it sounds, memories.
I had occasion to do business with Fritz Lumber only once but they went the extra mile in helping me with my project at that time. I liked the old time feel and courtesy that is sadly lacking in the new supply stores. I do hope whatever Eadeh builds there will maintain Berwyn’s small town feel.
Good luck Howard. Kenny & Lee McNeill
Congratulations on many years in business and much success in your retirement!
With it’s location right by the train station , it’s a perfect spot for transit oriented residences , possibly including some small retail. To turn this into a full commercial or retail site is the last thing the area needs.Doesn’t have to be a huge apmt complex like the ones in Malvern but condo’s like they’ve built in various spots around Wayne would be a good use of the space.
Interesting quote from the release “Neither have building experience or knowledge of it, nor do they have the required, management skills needed to sustain a viable and prosperous supply company.” Sort of a shot at their kids, no?? ha
Anyway, as boring as this sounds – if most of the area was a parking lot, the rest of the business “in town” would greatly benefit from that. Between the BT, 30 Main and the others in that strip (plus what appears to be a new restaurant coming in), additional parking could possibly be the make/break point for them.
Thanks for all the great years of service to Easttown and neighboring communities and for the cheerful, knowledgeable service to our community. Fritz Lumber will be missed by many. Howard, enjoy your retirement, you earned it!
We’ll miss you and Fritz Lumber, Howard.
As for development: how about some sidewalks? With sidewalks, the multi-story parking garage at the bottom of the hill would become useful for the whole downtown area! PLEASE, let’s not just get another parking lot.
Sidewalks please! That side of the street is scary to walk down, and there are lots of kids walking around the neighborhood, not to mention BT traffic.
so what are Eadeh’s plans for the property?