JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KSNT) — Due to a lack of soldiers building homes in Junction City, the owner of Home Lumber and Décor, Alan Bontrager, is closing his store’s doors. Bontrager said, city leaders in Junction City were told in the early 2000s that troops with the Big Red One would be returning from Germany. That meant hundreds of houses needed to be built for the families.
Back in 2006, about 500 homes and apartments were created, but many soldiers either decided to live in Fort Riley or they didn’t return. That same year, almost 600 families wanted build a home. In 2010, the number dropped to 130 families wanting to build a home. In 2017, the number is a mere 7!
“With the housing not improving, it’s pretty hard to make it in the lumber business,” Bontrager said. “It’s hard to make it in the flooring business when you just don’t have that new construction. You’ve got to have volume when you’re selling carpet and vinyl and new construction does that for you.”
Bontrager said there are about 950 land lots ready for homes to be built in Junction City. He goes on to say, other factors for the decline to business is due to taxes increasing the past few years. The store is expected to close by the end of this year.