Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If they don't have it, you don't need it


{Hardware store dog (Bo), originally uploaded by estteolson}

I had to go to Home Desperate this weekend to pick up some little thing and I was dreading it. I miss small mom & pop hardware stores like the one in the town I grew up in. It had creaky old wooden floors and the store was really narrow but ran the full length of the building. You could get keys made, buy tools and grass seed, pick out paint and wallpaper and order lumber. But you could also get some Pfalzgraff (when they still had only 6 patterns and hadn't moved into every outlet mall in Suburbanville), a hurricane lamp, real linen dishtowels, a crock pot, baking pans, horsehair brushes, and a red flyer wagon. I bought a steamed pudding mold there that I still use. I think there was a cat. If there wasn't, there should have been. They had the best selection of greeting cards, lots of Boynton, Kliban and other non-Hallmark staples. There was a simplicity about shopping there that the big box stores completely lack. You could walk in, find what you wanted pretty quickly (and if not, someone who worked there -- and who actually knew what they were talking about -- would help you find it). You didn't have to hike through a huge warehouse of a store, and there were only two or three options at most for each item, not like the option overload of modern-day shopping.

I know there are still stores like this -- there's one on the main street of the town just west of mine. But they are a dying breed, and those that are still around are having to scale back on what they offer as the big box stores eat their profits. I know for a fact that the store near me did not have the item I ended up buying at HD, because I went there first. I did, however, buy some soy candles, a flower pot, and some picture hooks. ;-)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love stores like that too, there was one on Main St in my hometown, but the owner passed away and his kids didn't want to take it over. They had a cat who slept by the old wood-burning stove, and the best penny candy by the register. Very quaint.

littlebyRD said...

Oh I hear you! I love the old traditional hardware stores. If we ever have need to go to HD, we just dread it and put it off until we can't any longer. There are a couple of hardware stores here in Portland that are fun to visit and always a first choice over HD.

Mrs.French said...

We are lucky enough to have one right down the street...costs a bit more, but so worth it!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

I love stores like this and I love that they're not in Malls :-)

Marnie said...

I can still hear the creaking floors and almost smell the old place from our hometown - it was right next to the old dry goods store that I posted about last month - the dry goods store is still a going concern but the hardware store is now a tres chic restaurant - i love to support to the local stores - book stores, markets, hardware stores, such a counterpoint to the big box places

pve design said...

Perhaps I was born with 5 extremely heightened senses, I can smell, taste, feel, see and hear my local "Chism's Hardware" and I was crushed when I went back home and it was gone.
Woolworths was a short bike ride with a "notions" aisle full of the most splendid spools of thread. I used to go there and the fabric store. Byck's was an upscale ladies department store and I would stop there and pretend I was really rich. I wish it was there.
For me, they had it all. All I wanted.

Mumsie said...

Oh this brings back memories for there was very little you could not find there. From that emergency hostess gift to all kinds of kitchen utensils and relishes and the best greeting cards. Everyone knew "Ace was the Place." Thanks for the memories.

mommajm said...

Where will I go the next time the kids break a window or rip a screen? I always went to that hardware store downtown. I feel sad every time I walk by.

Robin said...

We drove by it when I was in town a few weeks ago and I still can't believe it is so empty after all these years... no one wants to buy it? There must be something very wrong with the building, like asbestos. It would make a great restaurant, or art gallery (or both). Hmmm, maybe when I win the lottery...