The interior of Seaside Lumber in Seaside Heights (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Growing up in Seaside Heights and working for my father on the boardwalk as a teenager I was very familiar with Seaside Lumber. As winter turned to spring businesses would often be making changes and improvements as they prepared for the upcoming “season” and that meant regular trips to the lumber yard on Hamilton Avenue.

When I was old enough I would take my father’s Ford Country Squire station wagon and pick up plywood, 2x4’s, nails, screws. Whatever we needed.

The exterior of Seaside Lumber in Seaside Heights (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Owned and operated by the Kostiha Family it was the definition of a family-run business and a quasi-meeting place for business owners and residents.

In the late 70s the business expanded with the addition of a hardware store and retail business focused more on remodeling than building.  Shortly after that siblings Joe and Louisa purchased the business from their retired parents and while Seaside Heights and surrounding towns underwent significant change they have run Seaside Lumber and Hardware ever since.

They have battled through recessions and competition from places like Home Depot and Lowes to become a fixture on Hamilton Avenue and one of the last places visitors see when leaving town and heading over the bridge.

But as the saying goes “all good things must come to an end” and 69 years after their father came to the barrier island to build summer cottages Joe and Louisa are ready to retire.  They have worked in the family business since they were kids and are ready to trade in the ups and downs of running a retail business for relaxation, travel, time with family and fishing.

Seaside Lumber and Hardware is now running a retirement sale with everything from paint to garden supplies discounted at 50% or more and the plan is to close the doors for good in early March.  The property has already been sold and will be part of an age-restricted housing complex to be built in the coming months.

While they have earned their retirement the closing is certainly bittersweet for the Kostiha’s who were a big part of simpler times when Seaside Heights was a special place to live and work.  I know because I did both there as well.