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Thread: Your Local Hardware Store

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Your Local Hardware Store

    I searched the archives and could not find an EXACT match for this topic.....

    Yesterday I had to visit the local Swanton, OH, hardware store three (3) different times, as I worked on a home project. As always, their service was wonderful. I was back on the home project job with minutes.

    The local hardware in Swanton, OH, seems to do a nice business. It is always busy and the "feel" for the store over the years has been that they are quite successful in this day and age of big box competition. They continue to improve and enlarge the store, making it a pleasant shopping venue.

    Important to note that Swanton has no big box stores. Residents drive into the Toledo metro (15 miles east) or over to Wauseon (15 miles west) to get to these boxes. So, from a competition standpoint.....the local hardware has no nearby competitor.

    OTOH.....I lived in very rural Liberty Center, OH, and their hardware store struggled after the boxes started popping-up in nearby larger towns. Eventually, the Liberty Center Hardware closed. (It was a very traditional old-style hardware, with the small parts bins lining a full wall.....and that wall had a library-style ladder that the proprieter would roll over to the necessary bin. It was 1910 America all over again.)

    Metropolitan Toledo used to have a large number of neighborhood hardware stores. Most of those are now history, as America's shopping habits changed. A few have remained solid......much like the Swanton version.....offering the local shopper a chance to save some gas mileage costs while providing pleasant and friendly service.

    How about your area? Are your hardware stores now gone? What say you?

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Our last mom and pop hardware store closed in 1994 after Super Walmart opened

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I live on Milwaukee's east side. I can drive 10 minutes to the closest big box, or i can literally walk around the corner to Brady Street Hardware. The price is a little higher at BSH, but I don't need to fire up the Beemer, and they have everything! In fact, last year when i was installing window AC units and needed 2x4's cut for braces, they did the cuts for no charge, and i didnt even buy the wood there.
    why i gave the ex the power tools i will never understand...

  4. #4
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    ...why i gave the ex the power tools i will never understand...
    Off-topic:
    I feel your pain; I kick myself in the ass often for leaving mine in Idaho.

  5. #5
    Home Despot killed off a lot of the West Toledo hardware business when it opened in 1999. Fleegers Pro Hardware in the Kenwood Shopping Center another nearby establishment was just some of the carnage. It also wiped out almost a quarter of a historic garden apartment complex called Hampshire Heights.

    Our neighborhood group, Westgate Neighbors tried to stop Home Depot from building in the first place after the City illegally rezoned some residential land allowing Home Depot to expand into a residential area. A judge put a moritorium on construction, but not on demolition of the apartments, and the corporate pricks at Home Depot and their development firm hastily demolished the apartments overnight before the judge had a chance to change his mind.

    We ended up circulating petitions to put the zoning change proposal on the ballot, but with the apartments already demolished, most people decided they might as well let Home Depot put in their store on residential land. We were also outgunned by a million dollar "astro-turf roots" ad campaign by Home Depot touting their store as "economic development" plus a Nazi mayor warning people on local television "Do not sign that petition! Absulutely do not sign that petition!"

    With Home Depot given the go ahead to build their store, the elitist corporate real estate prick Zindorf, who brokered the deal, collected a $1 million fee, and the store was completed within a year. The only good thing that happened was the the city had to pay the attorney fees for our lawyer who sued the city for the illegal zoning change in the first place. So all the residents who paid up to $1000 each to retain a lawyer were eventually given their money back.

    Oh how wonderful it would have been for the votors to come though and deny Home Depot the zoning change. Then the store may never have been built at all, Zyndorf would have lost his million dollar real estate transaction and hopefully would have been bankrupted. But the mainstream "white-picket-fence" demographic that Home Depot markets to in their overblown, nauseating commercials, seduced by a relentless ad blitz - plus a bunch of crooked politicians touting the store as economic development - got a hard-on for saving 50 cents on drywall and voted for the goddamn store anyway.

    Idealism and the notion of good planning died that day as Home Depot's successful campaign of economic terrorism and political curruption made it clear that anything was for sale and zoning changes could be enacted on a whim. Clearly evil had won. The defenseless residents of the Westgate area and their supporters were no match against a billion dollar corporation backed by the dark political forces of the City leadership that allowed the zoning change that triggered this whole mess in the first place.
    Last edited by Super Amputee Cat; 29 Jan 2006 at 1:34 PM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Within in 5 minute walk from my place there are 2 small hardware stores, one a "home hardware" the other an "ace". They tend to have everything you'd need for most small and easy jobs. The home depot and rona are about a 10 minute drive for things these guys don't carry.

    Considering I live in an apartment, don't need anything big or difficult to get from the locals, plus they'll give you a handful of nails.

    When I was renovating my house, they knew me due to work. They always laughed at seeing me 5-6 times on a saturday as I did a job. While it was a "big box" (kents) it really was'nt, plus the "locals" store had such poor service and selection it was hard to not want to shop their. They had this one lady who would help you and know all the things you'd need for a job.

    SAC please tell us how you really feel.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    We have a rather extensive, though small, hardware store right nearby, as well as a dollar store with wide product range and other assorted useful stores. Rumour is Wal-Mart is negotiating to come to town, though.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by donk
    SAC please tell us how you really feel.
    Sarcasm aside, this really isn't how I feel. How I really feel would easily get me banned from this forum. What I wrote is merely a mild, heavily censored view of how what I'd like to see happen to Home Depot and all the suck-a$$ politicians that enabled this atrocity to be built.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Super Amputee Cat
    Sarcasm aside, this really isn't how I feel. How I really feel would easily get me banned from this forum. What I wrote is merely a mild, heavily censored view of how what I'd like to see happen to Home Depot and all the suck-a$$ politicians that enabled this atrocity to be built.
    Hey SAC.....from 1973 through 1988 my parents lived in Hampshire Heights. They lived in the first building on the right. I think that building is still there.....although I believe that the new library building is in the field that used to be to the right of their parking lot. I used to go over to the parent's apartment and we would have picnics in that field.

    Cricket Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  10. #10

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    Vacaville has an excellent independent "Ace Hardware" just outside downtown store that has generally very good service and seems to do a booming business. It doesn;t have everything a Home Depot does (not as much "home improvement" stuff), but for HARDWARE, its pretty first rate.

    We also have a Lowes and a Home Depot, the latter of which has "assimilated" a great little regional chain, Yardbirds.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I've got an Ace about a 3 minute walk from my house. I got there on Saturday's for the free donuts and coffee.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I have two very small independant stores. These stores do the nicities like fix screens, and the help shows you around the store and explains what options they have that are on your list. These are both within walking distance. In addition, we have an ACE store a couple of miles away with the same treatment is available.

    We still have smaller independant landscaping companies too that will drop a yard of dirt or whatever you need at your home.

    These survive in spite of the enormous home depot that is about a half-mile from my home. It sometimes much easier to just run up to the corner and not deal with the long lines and less than knowledgable staff at the big box.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Off-topic:
    I feel your pain; I kick myself in the ass often for leaving mine in Idaho.
    Hey, I got power tools! rrr-rrrrrrrrrrr.....

    I try to frequent Ace, our smallest store chain, simply because it's easier to get help, then Lowe's if necessary, then Home Depot (hate Home Depot; you could be struck by lightning before you'd find a clerk).

    In the small town I lived in for 15 years prior to moving here, we had one of those really old fashioned downtown hardware stores, it's still there, bins of stuff. old stuff that had probably been on the shelf for decades, etc. My bosses used to go there sometimes at lunch just to soak up the atmosphere.

  14. #14
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Hey, I got power tools! rrr-rrrrrrrrrrr.....
    Off-topic:
    you'll have to give me the tour next time.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    There was a locally owned Ace Hardware a little less than a mile from Chez Bubba - very handy for weekend projects (which generally involve me realizing that I need something else from the store when I'm halfway through). The Ace closed about three years ago, so now I'm stuck with a Home Depot that's about four miles down the road. The space that the Ace occupied is still vacant...and the Home Depot is expanding.

  16. #16
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    There's two hardware stores fairly close to me.

    The larger of the two, a avery busy Ace Hardware, is manned by a large staff of knowledgable folks who seem to enjoy what they do. They're also good for local contacts for handymen and contractors. The place is great for paint, walcoverings, specialized tools and real hardware - nuts, bolts, nails and the like -- but everything else tends to be somewhat pricey, and the selection is limited. I'll go there if I need a few gallons of Benjamin Moore or Pratt and Lambert, but for an illuminated three-way Decora light switch in white, I'm off to Home Depot.

    The smaller one -- very small -- has only Ace paint, a very limited selection of tools and hardware, and odd hours. They seem to do a good business in custom-cut panes of glass, but otherwise if I need something I know they won't have it, and they probably won't be open anyhow.

    My favorite is old-school hardware store near my workplace. It stretches across two old late 1800s-era retail buildings, and covers three stories. You name it, they have it - obscure tools, shoes that are made in the US, industrial coatings. It has that classic old-school hardware store smell and sound, with creaky wooden floors, Truly old-school. The plance is staffed by a bunch of old-timers who could probably put Norm Abrams to shame with their knowledge of hardware and how to use it. Too bad it's one of the last viable retail businesses in this small city's downtown.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    We got a small hardware store in a ... DOWNTOWN... along with a strip-mall Ace outside of downtown. Both are good to go to.
    There were two elections in 2005, one to allow land (just outside downtown) to be rezoned (after the local planning dept. said NO) to become a Super Walmart... that legislation passed by 3 votes.
    Then there was some contraversy, and there was another election in which they did the old "squarefootage limitation within said feet of downtown" which failed. So it looks like a matter of time before Wal Mart comes to town.
    There is a coworker of mine, who said with a straight face... that Wal-Mart will be good for the downtown...

    We got another one in the works in the town where I work, making two--plus a Sam's, then two more each in other towns nearby. Which I dub the Saturation of Rednecks or the calmer, Saturation of Wal Mart.

    The take of my neighbors (we reside in a small town in the middle of all the above decribed towns): It's going to be great not having those deals so close...

    This Planner's Take: Let it ride and watch things burn when the Kunstler Fire and Brimstone Peak Oil "stuff" hits the "fan"

    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    We have an independent "Home and Garden" hardware store in downtown which does a good business. Walk in and they are right there to help you get exactly what you need. A large part of their business comes from local contractors which helps their success. Bad thing is they close at 6:00 pm and are open until 12:00 on Saturdays (closed on Sundays). Like Bear and many others, sometimes you HAVE to make multiple trips when doing home repair/projects.

    The bigbox Lowes in about 6 miles down the highway and I use it more for the home improvement items. Home Depot's location sux to get in and out, so my trips there are very rare.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  19. #19
    Our little town has two hardware stores. One is the Ace Hardware, and they have almost everything one would need for a home project as well as spring and fall plantings. Their staff is local and extremely helpful. The other store is across town and is an independent. They specialize in more contractor-based stuff, and also all the pool maintenance/marine supply stuff you would ever need. My town has three three yacht clubs, so that's a lot of people who need stuff.

    I am more than happy to support the locally owned businesses in my town. It is not worth the gas and time spent getting to a larger store when I can meet my needs with something right in town. There is rarely any more than a 5 cent difference in price so why bother? And if it's something unusual I'll search online from the comfort of my home and order it that way.

    My hometown in Vermont still has an old-fashioned hardware store that smells of grease and solvents and you can get anything from the glass stem for your old Pyrex coffee percolator to a pair of bib overalls. The man who owns it lives in the village and buzzes around town on an ancient Vespa. The floors are dull hardwood and there's a layer of dust on everything. The shelves behind the main counter are chock a block with so much stuff. The lighting fixtures are probably from the early 20th century and boy, would I love to get my hand on them! May have been gaslights converted to electricity! I recall that they were only on when the daylight was dim.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    we still have 3, across the street from each other - the home Depot is 12 miles off island

    our hardware stores function as town centers, like the post office, grocery store and the coffee shops here are - so i have to need something bad to go in there because it takes me an extra half hour to get the hell out of there!

  21. #21
    For a city of ~40,000, we have three best value hardwares, an ace, and the beloved big orange box. I use the largest of the best values as they have the best lumber selection or can custom order if I need something unique, such as the 5/4"x10"x16' clear poplar I needed to finish my exterior trim on the kitchen remodel. I'll be using them as well for my lumber needs this summer when I replace our soon-to-collapse garage

    Here, ace is the place with the helpful hardware man with a surly attitude.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    There's a great little hardware store near me that is still successful and is run by a colorful 85 year old man in a bow tie. Unfortunately I usually need something after they are closed for the day and end up at Lowes.

  23. #23
    maudit anglais
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    There is a small independent place about a 20 minute walk away that I sometimes go to when I'm down that way and I need something small. There is a really good old-school lumberyard about the same distance away that I like going to for harder to find items (like trimstock that isn't mock-colonial/victorian, or good quality lumber). They have "contractor" hours though - something like 6:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. during the week and 7:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. on Saturday.

    I end up driving up to Home Depot more often than not for most of my renovation needs. The 24/7 location (well, it used to be open 24hrs/day) came in useful a couple of times

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    I worked for five years at a local hardware store that was owned by the third generation of that family. It was their grandad that built the place. Generation #4 works there today.

    Currently, I have a convenient True Value about a mile and a half from me. It's got everything I've come to expect in a hardware store, but if I need lumber or large tools, like my new table saw, then it's to Lowe's I go.

    For a year and a half, I worked for the company that did the site location analysis work for Home Depot, so I felt obligated to shop there. I traveled to about a dozen states and compared HD's and Lowe's for a living. Every place I went, without exception, I had better service at Lowe's.

    I'm still getting the orange taint off my skin!
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    We have a couple of supply houses in town, one specialize in plumbing and another in electric, both has everything you would need, works out great if you can plan a project ahead of time and swing by and pick things up. We have a great independent building supply place that either has most things or they will special order. you pay slightly more but the customer service is great and i don't have to drive the 10 minutes to the big boxes. They've even delivered some small stuff to my house at no extra charge, like a single piece of plywood and some trim.

    Unfortunately they are a constant code enforcement issue, so sometimes i have to drive to the big boxes anyways.

    The hardware in Planit's town is great. They do alot of things that the big boxes will never do, like sharpen chain saw chains and such

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