After battling COVID, Dunsmuir Hardware owner Ron McCloud feels ‘90% better’

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
Ron McCloud, proprietor of Dunsmuir Hardware, helps Kelley Brentt as employee Kevin Tynsky waits on customers Doyle Roate and Curtis Smith on the first day the store re-opened on Feb. 8. 2021. The store was closed for more than two months after McCloud contracted COVID-19.

After being closed for more than two months, Dunsmuir Hardware has opened its doors again.

On Monday, Feb. 8, owner Ron McCloud turned on the store’s “open” sign and raised the flag in front of the building after struggling for weeks with COVID-19.

McCloud, who is 79 years old, spent two weeks in the hospital battling the coronavirus. At 2 a.m. on Nov. 28 he was rushed to the hospital when he couldn’t breathe. For two months he was on oxygen. Now armed with a pulse oximeter close by to regularly check is oxygen level, McCloud says he feels “90% better.”

“I still don’t have all my strength, balance or stamina back yet, but I feel good,” he said. “This disease knocked several years off my life ... It is so important and even more urgent to sell this hardware store and retire. During the down time, I kept my employees working by deep cleaning the store from top to bottom. They washed, dusted, cleaned and polished everything in the store.” 

The 127-year-old business on Dunmsuir Avenue is up for sale.  

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McCloud said he sees 50 to 100 people a day in the store. “It’s important to get the store open for our town. We all support each other in Dunsmuir ... This store is a vital part of this town.”  

Ron’s wife, Pat, tested negative for COVID-19. None of the hardware store employees, their family members or friends have tested positive, either.

Ron describes his hospital experience as “incredible.” 

“The nurses wore layers upon layers of protective clothing and gear. They’d peel off a layer when entering my room and then peel another layer off when leaving my room so as not to spread COVID outside my room. They were amazing, hard working people,” said Ron. And the Home Health nurses were angels and a source of encouragement.”

McCloud said the lingering aspects he’s experiencing are what doctors refer to as “COVID Fog.” He struggles with his memory, mental dexterity and sharpness, but they will return. He practices daily breathing exercises and McCloud says he is feeling good now.  

Recovered COVID patient Ron McCloud, left, stands with his employee Kevin Tynsky in the historic Dunsmuir Hardware on its re-opening day on Feb. 8, 2021. The store was closed for more than two months while McCloud recovered from the deadly virus.

“The whole town collectively held their breath to see if and when we’d reopen,” said Kevin Tynsky, one of Dunsmuir Hardware’s three employees says,  Today feels like a sign of relief. It has been a busy day. That man (Ron McCloud), is the best man I’ve ever worked for. He cares about everyone that comes in, his employees and this town. And it shows.”  

Dunsmuir Hardware is the oldest continuously operating business in the historic railroad town and something of a museum filled with photographs and antiques dating back to the late 1800s. The McClouds purchased the business in 1975, when it was called L&L Hardware. The McClouds thought about renaming it McCloud Hardware, but decided against it because of the confusion that would result due to the neighboring community of McCloud.

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“I’m glad he’s open again,” said customer Curtis Smith. “There’s nowhere else to go. He’s got everything I would need and he is right here in town.” 

Dione von Hein came into the store just to see McCloud on his first day back. 

“It’s been a long road and I am so happy to see him,” von Hein said. “Everyone was feeling it with him being gone. He looks good.” 

The Dunsmuir Hardware’s monthly newsletter posted on the store’s front door says in big letters, “We’re Back!”