George J. Thaler Inc. has about one million stove parts on hand in the 5,000 bins of its red brick building at the corner of Madison Street and Central Avenue. All this is the legacy of the firm's 130-year history. That history is now ending. The store opened by Lorenz Thaler, a tinsmith and roofer who emigrated from Germany, is going out of business.
Over the years, the Thaler firm has withstood many crises. First came central heating, then tin roofs became obsolete. And even though wood-burning stoves are now experiencing a renaissance of sorts, this unique tin-ceilinged store's owners have decided that enough is enough. A window into the past is closing.