CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Law enforcement officials permanently closed the long-running Cedar Rapids DIY space Home Depot today, despite the venue’s years serving as a community hub for personal and home improvement.
“This was a difficult decision,” said Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman. “We know people here have a strong community based around do-it-yourself ethics. But for the very safety of that community, we need Home Depot to cease operations, effective immediately.”
Local police cite multiple issues with the decades-old home improvement store, including some long-standing disputes with various tenants. “Where to begin?” asked veteran officer Carla Fletcher. “You can buy dangerous weapons like chainsaws, knives, and axes. They sell hazardous chemicals and substances. We sent a forensics team to the hotdog stand, and their findings were bone-chilling.”
The abrupt end to this community hub is already a concern for the people who helped build the Home Depot scene. 58-year-old contractor Paul Greeley was at the register buying epoxy when police served their warrant. “No warning. No explanation,” Greeley said. “I got guys setting up drywall down on Walnut St., and now I don’t know if that job will get done before we’re scheduled for inspection.”
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Kayla and Don Thomas were at the Home Depot looking at bathroom fixtures when police escorted them out. “We’ve seen some great shows at Home Depot,” Ms. Thomas lamented. “One taught us how to regrout the tiles in our shower, and there was another right after about the basics of kitchen remodelling. And — I can’t overstate this — LawnCare Fest ‘14 truly changed our lives.”
Throughout the city, smaller DIY spaces like ACE and Sherwin Williams see the closing of Home Depot as sign of things to come. Already, art houses Utrecht and Kinko’s are making efforts to connect with law enforcement to avoid the same fate.
Former Home Depot cashier Melinda Dates is already looking forward to the future of DIY in her community. “Look, if they say we can’t have Home Depot, then I’m gonna start my own Home Depot,” she said. “I’ll get a few friends, find some old building — we’ll fill it up with 2x4s and toilet parts. We’ll just do it ourselves.”
Photo by Thomas Fricilone @ThomasFricilone.