Contractors Depot in Eastpointe is closing down after 20 years in business in Franklin County.

The business was started by British owners Dave and Margaret Tuplin, initially in Apalachicola, as an equipment rental center and hardware store. After a couple of years they opened a second store on St. George Island.

They developed their first web site in 1997 which sold pest control supplies. It was an instant success so over the next few years they published further websites selling the items they carried in their hardware stores.

In 2000, their son David Tuplin Jr. came over from England to help with the design and development of more e-commerce web sites. In 2002 they built the office and warehouse on Island Drive and sold their other stores.

Through the next eight years they were extremely successful and had a staff of 14 people shipping contractors supplies and equipment throughout the US and worldwide. However, competition grew on the internet with all the major manufacturers publishing their own websites and supplying contractors direct.

Websites such as Amazon, Overstock and others grew, which also reduced profit margins to unsustainable levels, said the senior Tuplin. Revenue began to decline and the closing of the business soon became inevitable.

The Eastpoint location will be completely closed in June and is now for sale. They have some of their internet inventory remaining and are selling it locally at low prices, everything from fasteners, to pest control supplies, pumps, and exercise equipment. All the office furniture and equipment is also for sale to the local public.

The younger David and his wife Dawn returned in 2012 to Europe, where he now writes computer applications for Barclays Bank UK. Dave and Margaret are selling their home in Crawfordville and also planning to return to their homeland in Europe in the next few months.

The senior Tuplin said he and his wife are sad to be leaving behind their American friends and faithful customers, after enjoying 24 years in the USA. But, with nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in the UK, they and are looking forward to seeing them more frequently.