And he says he doesn't get why Webster's suing him. "Every community in the world would be happy to have us. We're probably the biggest retailer in Webster, so you'd think they'd be happy to have us.
"We're at the breaking point. We'll be here next year, but we're going to have to sell animals, all but three horses and three donkeys. And who knows what'll happen after that?"
The Hoey family came to Dexter early. Records in the Dexter Museum show that Irish-born Patrick Hoey was married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in 1856. That was just twenty-six years after the village was established. And they flourished. Burton's grandfather, Daniel, co-founded the D.E. Hoey Lumber Co. in 1898. Dan Hoey Road is named for him. Burton's father, Leo, ran the company with his brother John until 1950, when John became vice president of the Dexter Savings Bank.
After Leo died in 1969, Frances Hoey, Burton's mother, then sixty-five, took over the company. It was unusual for a woman to run a lumber business--previously, she had been a teacher and then a full-time mother of seven--but in a 1979 Ann Arbor News interview, she shrugged off the accomplishment, saying it was no big deal. She died almost five years ago, at 103.