By Clara Glendale | Beacon home-and-business reporter
After nearly 61 years, Leo’s Wheelbarrow Rental, 100 1st St., will close, effective May 17.
Initially called Wheel-Borrow, it was one of the most-enduring local businesses of all time. Eventually, Bass Lake townspeople referred to it as Leo’s Wheelbarrow Rental, out of pure laziness. The name stuck, and it has stuck to this day.
But no more — beginning a few weeks from now.
The venture was launched by Leo Kincaid, who originally managed the backyard business from his own backyard, beginning in June 1953.
Since that time, the service grew gradually. In its six decades of existence, approximately 45 wheelbarrows were rented each year, on average. Many were returned on schedule, without incident. Most common reasons for rental: brush removal; concrete-hauling; and flower-planter concepts.
The wheelbarrow venture was twice nominated for induction into the Bass Lake Haul of Fame, in 1973 and 1996.
It featured a slew of owners throughout the life of the business, including Leo himself (now deceased), Leo’s son Leo Jr. (deceased), Leo Jr.’s partner, Leo (currently dead), Leo Jr.’s partner’s first son, Leo Jr. (1960-87) and Leo Jr.’s fraternal twin, the late Sara “Tubby” Wheeler and — finally — Lee O. “Wheel” Barrow, who has remained at the helm since Dec. 2, 1999.
But, beginning in a few weeks — no more.
“I wish we could stay open, but we can’t,” Barrow said. “Our customers have been good to us. Almost all of them.”
Longtime patron of LWR, Ted “Second Class” Lever, said the news is “a heavy load to bear.”
“I don’t know how I can get any work done anymore,” Lever said.
A Beacon sports writer contributed to this report.