After 21 years, Helensburgh H Hardware store owners Mike and Gail Tribe are "sad and disappointed" to close the doors to the business on Saturday. When the business was first advertised in the '90s, despite no experience in retail, Mr Tribe saw potential in it after losing his job as a contract driver. He has grown up learning the tricks of the trades, with his father who is a carpenter, and his son who is a builder. Read more: Helensburgh speed painter defies her arthritis to follow her dreams He said there was a "big increase" in sales over the first 10 years, but that was where it peaked. The couple decided late last year that closing would financially be the best option after a decrease in sales. "Our trade has decreased dramatically year by year for the last three years," Mr Tribe said. "There's no way I can continue." They were planning to sell the business in the future, but the pandemic had other ideas. COVID has exacerbated the decline in sales, and also meant that staff numbers needed to decrease. Got a news tip or story for us? Email email@example.com "The only reason we're surviving is because of JobKeeper," he continued. "We were very grateful that came along to keep us surviving." Despite JobKeeper, Mr Tribe said there was a slight surge in sales at the beginning of the pandemic with people doing more at home, but it was not enough to survive. He also mentioned that shopping local has gone downhill not just for the hardware store, but other smaller businesses in Helensburgh. "And it's our weekend trade more than anything that has suffered, which means that people are driving past your doorstep to go out of town to shop, which is really, really disappointing," he said. "People need to support the local businesses otherwise there won't be any," he added. "There's no customer loyalty anymore." For the last two and a half weeks, it has just been Mike and Gail running the store. "I could be here all day by myself and I would be fine," Mrs Tribe said. The Lilli Pilli couple both mentioned they are sad to leave their community, and their regular customers. "The community is very friendly," Mrs Tribe said. "I'll miss the people and I'll probably still come down because I've made so many friends." "It's a part of history for Helensburgh," she added. Mr Tribe also mentioned the inconvenience that the closure will have for the area. "I know a lot of regulars that we've got left will will certainly miss this because it's a long way to go to a hardware store from Helensburgh," he said. "We help them through any problems, we usually are able to help them out, having done a lot of years of experience in the building trade." "There isn't a lot of problems we can't solve for our customers." It is however, not goodbye for good. "We will be maintaining the other side of our business, which is the gas deliveries," Mr Tribe said. "And see where we go from there." We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.