Marcus Scruggs, who helped run Briggs Hardware for five decades before the 150-year-old business closed in July, has died.
Family members said Scruggs died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Raleigh. Scruggs had also been battling bone cancer. He was 80.
Scruggs’ death marks the end of an era for Briggs Hardware, one of Raleigh’s oldest businesses, said his daughter, Evelyn Murray.
Scruggs became part of the Briggs family when he married Evelyn “Toni” Stone Briggs in 1956. His wife died in 2006.
“He gave us an incredible work ethic,” Murray said of her father. “And (he) taught us … first and foremost you took care of your family.”
The family includes Raleigh politicians and business leaders who helped build the city.
Scruggs’ son, Marc Scruggs, served on the Raleigh City Council from 1995-1997 and 1999-2001.
The family had a hand in building the historic Oakwood neighborhood and also Raleigh’s first “skyscraper,” which still stands today on Fayetteville Street and houses the City of Raleigh Museum.
Scruggs wasn’t often in the public eye, but he was the patriarch of the current Briggs generation, Murray said.
The family moved the business from its original site on Fayetteville Street to Atlantic Avenue and Six Forks Road in 1995.
The city closed Fayetteville Street to traffic in the 1970s, which led to many businesses leaving downtown.
Briggs Hardware held on longer than others because of Scruggs’ ingenuity, Murray said.
He developed a wholesale system, selling supplies to university systems, state organizations and companies in Eastern North Carolina. It kept the business profitable enough to stay in its downtown space for roughly two more decades.
Family members said they decided to close the Atlantic Avenue store this summer because the business couldn’t recover from the economic downturn. In an interview in June, Scruggs said the business landscape was changing.
“It’s not the same world anymore,” he said. “We’re a mom and pop store ... and we just can’t compete with the big stores and the Internet.”
This month, Murray opened a version of Briggs Hardware on Hargett Street downtown. Scruggs, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The family is still making funeral arrangements, Murray said, but the public will be welcome.
“My daddy loved his friends, he loved to dance, and he loved to party,” she said. “He would want everybody there by his side.”