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?