After five decades of running the Tigard Liquor Store and shaping Main Street, Chuck Woodard retires
Frequent customers to the Tigard Liquor Store may have noticed an absence over the past few months. Chuck Woodard, 79, who has owned and operated the store on Main Street for more than 50 years, has retired.
'He had some health issues,' his daughter Terry Woodard-Neddeau said Friday evening. 'It's sad to see him go out the way he did. He should have gone out in glory instead of the way it happened, but it was time. He loved his work and he loved being here.'
Failing health forced Woodard to spend less and less time at the store in recent months and he officially retired Aug. 1.
'I don't feel that different,' Terry said of taking the reigns to the store. 'We've got to keep it going for my dad. He's put so much into this store.'
'He's a doer'
Many on Main Street remember Woodard's career not only as a longtime business owner, but as a lifelong advocate for Tigard and the downtown area.
'He worked his tail off for the downtown,' said Marvin Ankele, owner of Kepler's Upholstery and Custom Furniture on Main Street. 'He did a lot of things, putting up plants and signs and doing all sorts of stuff.'
Woodard served as a member of the downtown district committee and the planning commission for years.
He also worked on several community projects. He helped build the benches that dot downtown and hung flower baskets along Main Street every summer for years to spruce up the street.
'Chuck is one of those guys, gruff as he may appear, who has a heart of gold,' said Kim McMillan, project engineer for the city who worked with Woodard during the recent construction on Burnham Street. 'He does a lot of things behind the scenes and he's a wonderful man. I've really come to love him.'
McMillan called Woodard an 'idea man' who likes to see results.
'He's one of those guys that gets in there and gets it done,' she said. 'He's a doer.'
Woodard was the first to jump on a new city program to spruce up downtown storefronts, spending almost $100,000 of his own money to re-construct the front of his building after receiving a $25,000 grant from the city.
'He will go out of his way to do anything for you,' Terry said, standing near an old Polaroid of his father tacked to the wall of the liquor store. 'He puts himself into it. He wants to see change happen in this city and he really wants this community to grow and succeed."
Woodard's son Marc currently serves on the City Council and said that his father was proud of the changes that have come to Tigard.
'He has always been up with the times (and he) understands the importance of continued growth and improvements,' Marc said. 'And he has always been willing to pitch in and do his part.'
Four of Woodard's five children live on Southwest Woodard Lane, a road the elder paved himself. Marc said that image of community is what his father has strived to bring to Main Street for a half century.
'He has this vision of bringing people together,' Marc said. 'He always wanted to see that in Tigard, and he did that for his family. He knew that in the long run, having that centralized area is the best way to keep people happy.'
Woodard has long been considered a fixture of downtown Tigard, but the store has an even longer history.
Woodard first took over the Tigard Liquor Store from his father, former Tigard mayor Edward Woodard, in 1957 when he was 25 years old.
Woodard's father opened the store in 1939, only a few years after the end of prohibition.
All the Woodard children grew up working in the store, Terry said.
'We'll keep it going for my dad,' she said as she rang up a customer. 'We really are a family business. How often do you see three generations in a liquor store?'
Terry, who has worked in the store for more than 30 years, said that she's not worried about taking over the store after her father, who is famous for putting in 12-hour days, six days a week.
'He knows it's in good hands,' Terry said. 'If we ever need guidance, we can talk to him.'