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Falconer Business Owner Reflects On Past 50 Years

Brian Nelson, the longtime owner of Falconer Vacuum Shop, is celebrating 50 years working at the same West Main Street location in the village of Falconer. He began working at the then-named Falconer Hardware Store in 1970. P-J photo by David Kircher

FALCONER – Not many can say they have worked in the same location for five decades.

Even fewer can say they have enjoyed every second of it.

On Monday, Brian Nelson will be celebrating 50 years of work on West Main Street in the village of Falconer. In a story Nelson has proudly stated previously, he recalls applying for a job on his 16th birthday on Oct. 9, 1970, at the Falconer Hardware Store.

He got the job, with his first day a few days later – Oct. 12, on Columbus Day.

Over the next 17 years, Nelson worked for Robert and Kay Vanevery, learning “all the ropes of the hardware business” and jokes about even being a referee working for the married couple.

Nelson purchased the hardware store from the Vaneverys on Jan. 1, 1987.

When Walmart came to the area in the early ’90s, Nelson estimates he lost about half of his business. When Home Depot arrived, he decided it was time to downsize his operation to a vacuum store, eventually going by the name Falconer Vacuum Shop.

He did keep some of the “sideline jobs” that come with owning a hardware store; he continued to repair screens and windows, cut keys and also started selling poly wood outdoor furniture.

Business hummed for two decades until a fire tore through the building that houses his shop. The fire, which broke out the morning of Jan. 14, 2018, ended up destroying the multi-story property.

Since the blaze, Nelson has been running his business out of a temporary shed on the now-empty lot.

Asked what has stood out most over the last 50 years, Nelson said, “I don’t know where the time went. Looking back over the last 50 years I honestly don’t know where the time went. There was nothing else I ever wanted to do.”

Nelson also thanked the customers who have supported him over the years. “I’m thankful for them. … The people, the public. I get to deal with a lot of great people.”

With efforts to bring the Falconer Square housing development project to the village, Nelson said he plans to move his vacuum business across the street to a property he also owns. He doesn’t plan to stop working anytime soon.

“I plan to go another 50 years,” he said with a laugh.

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