Old-School Hardware Stores and Industrial Suppliers - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Old style hardware stores

    Visit Seven Corners Hardware store in St. Paul, Minnesota. They are in a old wood building. The first floor is hardware on shelves and bins, the second floor is new woodworking and power tools. They do a large mail order business, in fact if you look them up on the internet, they will send you a catalog.

  2. #22
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    Default Reinhold Hardware, Milwaukee, WI

    This thread REALLY hits a nerve for me not just 'cuz of the loss of hardware stores that were actually what the name implied, but because of true customer service that is disappearing also.

    Ron Hofer (post # 9) mentioned Reinhard Hardware in Milwaukee, WI that was an icon of both features I just mentioned. The name was Reinhold, by the way.

    This place was started in 1890 and had a warehouse type of building in the back that had a complete sheet metal shop for ductwork, heating, ventilating etc. They also stocked hot rolled shapes in this building - angles, channels, some I-beams and various round bars. If all you needed was four inches of stock if that's all you paid for no charge for cutting.

    These hardware stores were a type of community gathering place like the old general stores that helped form communities as cities were being born. About once a year they would put on a show/sale/lunch/feature tools & products - whatever you would call it.

    In 1980 I was restoring a coal burning parlor stove (photo below w/my son's first Halloween) and needed lots of mica for the windows so I headed to Reinhold's.

    Peter, the company president at the time (but you would never know it 'cuz he didn't put on 'airs') was helping me look through their stock when he asked if I was in a hurry. He was concerned that it would be too much waste/cost and suggested that I give him my list and he would order just the sizes that I needed.

    I'm talking about savings of maybe $10.00 or $12.00 and an order that probably only came to about $35.00 or $40.00 total. So I only had to wait a couple of days and I had just what I needed.

    For 38 years I have always been a sole proprietor R&D shop so they didn't make a ton of money off of me, but when I was leaving Wisconsin Reinhold was one of the places I went to say goodbye because of the decency they always showed EVERY customer. Peter said, "We'll keep your account open because you never know if there is something you might need that we have & we are always happy to ship".

    See if Best Buy treats you like Reinhold Hardware. You know, the place where you get ripped off for a 15% restocking fee if you try to return an unused electronic item that has had the box opened.

    It's not just the stores we are losing - it's the sense of community where you are not just a profit-generating piece of livestock going through electronically controlled doorways.

    For the record, mom & pop businesses like Reinhold still exist. My daughter has found two that she has worked for & does work for in Flagstaff, AZ. Even though they are not hardware, it's reassuring that that some business people still care.

    Best wishes everyone.

    Sincerely,

    Jim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails jesse-stove2.jpg  

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  4. #23
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    Default

    I fondly remember Tindal's and Cosner's hardware stores in Bedford, In. Recall going in 20 years ago to get impregnated jute, mica (locally, and erroneously, called Isinglas), and fish paper.

    Pump jacks? Had them. Leathers too.

    Mention any of those things to a hardware store employee now, and your next stop will be the rubber room.

    J.D.

  5. #24
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    Default

    There is or was a place in Portage Ohio called Shenew supply. The place was a time capsule. The moment you walked through the door it was mesmerising. Some stuff pre war on the shelfs. The folks that owned it bought up anything and everything at industrial auctions as I was told. I was in the place several times. It took two visits just to say that I thought I had seen everything in the place. The place was stacked from floor to celing. You could find anything there. You could go in looking for one thing and come out with something else. I bought a bench model Sunnen hone with twenty or so mandrels on one visit and before I left I had a Sioux neon dealers window sign fron the 40's or 50's, beautiful and it works! I heard their out of business, but I guess I should go some time and see.

  6. #25
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    I feel a "sticky" coming on (or a coffee table book)

    Wouldn't it be great to have a directory of the places still in business so that folks could search them out and patronize on trips?

    Our Outdoor Power Equipment shop is located in an old horse barn that my Grandfather converted 76 years ago, and still has the same hand crank register that he bought 2nd hand back in the 50's (we have the original tab style one in the attic). An amazing piece of workmanship - hasn't been touched by tools in the 25years I have been there and it is used 6 days a week.

    Sadly, I am converting to a computer controlled inventory - just can't keep up and the manufactures are demanding it.

    bob

  7. #26
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    Default +1 for McKittrick's in Lowell, MA and...

    McKittrick's is a shell of what it was a couple decades ago (back when we still had a little more industry around Lowell to supply) but still one of the best around. Definitely has the no-frills, dusty ambiance of the hardware stores of old. Feels like stepping out of a time machine into the 50s.

    O'Connor's in Billerica, MA - It's a True Value brand, but they've retained a bit of the good old fashioned hardware store. They've got a little bit of everything, well stocked, and amply staffed by a bunch of guys who've actually used the stuff they sell. Equipment rentals, a repair window and saw sharpening, replacement handles for hammers and farming implements, a couple long aisles of specialty hardware. And they have housewares and paint sections to keep my wife entertained while I'm pawing around in hardware.

  8. #27
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bob11x View Post
    I feel a "sticky" coming on (or a coffee table book)

    Wouldn't it be great to have a directory of the places still in business so that folks could search them out and patronize on trips?

    Our Outdoor Power Equipment shop is located in an old horse barn that my Grandfather converted 76 years ago, and still has the same hand crank register that he bought 2nd hand back in the 50's (we have the original tab style one in the attic). An amazing piece of workmanship - hasn't been touched by tools in the 25years I have been there and it is used 6 days a week.

    Sadly, I am converting to a computer controlled inventory - just can't keep up and the manufactures are demanding it.

    bob
    I second the idea of a 'sticky'/directory. When I get more settled in from my move and rid of a project that is dragging on, I would like to help with putting something like this together.

    Thank you Bob for saying the identical feeling I was having as I was typing my reply to this thread.

    Hopefully within the next few weeks I will be making a trip to West Virginia and back and I thought about going out of my way wherever I can to stop & thank the people still running businesses of this type.

    Then, now as I am writing this reply, I realized that the sense of community that so many people seek is just what I find so attractive about these forums that I either haunt or am a member of.

    So, maybe that's what 'community' it is to become in this digital age.

    Although I appreciate the sense community spread out even larger now, it is still comforting to actually visit tangible stores where you can immerse yourself in it.

    I should also add Eric Building Supply at 2112 N. West Street in Flagstaff, AZ to this list.

    Still going strong (I hope) and a place I stop at first before going the big box route. Not as big as what hardware used to be perhaps, but the same feel nevertheless.

    Best wishes to ya'll.

    Sincerely,

    Jim

  9. #28
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    Default Whoo hooo, no longer plastic!!!

    Just like a real person now!!!!

    Now, if I only had a brain.

    What's that Dorothy, you're of on a road trip to see who? Sure I'll come along. Maybe we can stop at some hardware stores and it'll do me some good. Where's that music coming from, who are all these little people and why is the road yellow?
    Last edited by jhe.1973; 01-21-2011 at 08:18 PM.

  10. #29
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    "Aufdemkampe Hardware in Cincinnati, gone since 2003~2004." I went to school in Cincinnati in 72-77 and often visited Aufdemkampe. Typhical Cincinnati, with the neckties and if bought something like cement a guy with a necktie under a smock would load it. A place in Utica called Doyle HW, just closed a couple of years ago. Big old brick building, had old stock from way back and the grompy old clerks would hand write your ticket, at check out you would pay and the money would be put in a basket that was sent up to a loft area and they sent your change back in the basket. I know a guy who bought a pot belly stove for 20 bucks, like they never raised the price. I can't imagine how they stayed in business.

  11. #30
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    Medina Hardware, Medina Ohio

  12. #31
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    Default

    National Supply Company in Toledo, Ohio (and other cities) catered to the oil industry but had a good hardware supply. I am fortunate to have 4 of their catalogs in my library from 1917 - 1930 - 1936 and 1939. They are great reference books. In the last 10 years I saw the wrought iron sign above the gate to their facility in Toledo. It was probably 30ft wide in an arch mounted on 2 posts. It was cut up for scrap by the present owners. The office building shown in their catalog still stands empty and in sad shape. Many of the other buildings also exist and I believe the city of Toledo uses them for stoage.

  13. #32
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    Eureka Hardware in Newcomerstown Ohio. Formally a warehouse on the Ohio Erie Canal.

  14. #33
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    Thanks, Jim,
    I'm happy to stand corrected.
    Ron

  15. #34
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    Here's a question does anyone have any pictures to post of these storied old places? I am surprised that the only pictures here sadly are of one on its last day in existence! If people don't start preserving these places now in photos it may not be possible to do in the future. I am starting now to think that this would make a good blog/website for some one to start up that could possibly even make a little side income on advertisements. Anyone else think similarly?

  16. #35
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    Photo's and a sticky would be a great idea.

  17. #36
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    Default L M Longlely & Son, Norway Maine

    Good old hardware store. The pictures tell the story. The saw in the metal area is a #2 Marvel. That's a sheet metal shop downstairs. Plumbing is also downstairs. It's hard to get a good angle for pictures.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mollyockett-memories0022.jpg   mollyockett-memories0021.jpg   mollyockett-memories0024.jpg   mollyockett-memories0025.jpg   mollyockett-memories0026.jpg  

    Last edited by maynah; 01-22-2011 at 08:47 AM.

  18. #37
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    A few more pictues. Sorry, the pictures downstairs are dark.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mollyockett-memories0028.jpg   mollyockett-memories0029.jpg   mollyockett-memories0033.jpg   mollyockett-memories0034.jpg   mollyockett-memories0035.jpg  


  19. #38
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    Default Thank you maynah for the photos

    Thank you for the great photos of the hardware store, but especially of the one of the top stair.

    Stairs like this speak volumes of the history behind the wear pattern.

    Even my wife wanted to see this one when I described it to her.

    Very thoughtful of you to include this one!!!

    Best wishes to you.

    Sincerely,

    Jim

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    Another interesting picture is the second one, a side view. You can see where they built the main brick building, then added on when they needed more room. First one building, then two, then three.

  21. #40
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adammil1 View Post
    Hi John,

    I just saw your post in the other forum. I will have to try to find some of those stores next time I am in Jersey or Danbury.

    Here's the one I am pissed I missed;
    Going once, going twice ... gone - Local News from Myrecordjournal.com

    I only found out due to an ad I found here for some one selling cutters he bought at the auction! To think I could have visited that place but never knew!
    I think that was me. That was Church & Morse in Meriden Ct.

    It was an amazing place and an amazing auction. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay till the end. Upstairs, they had racks FULL of NOS Delta machinery parts that I fear went for almost no money. There must have been 50-100 boxes of stuff... most of it looked like it was 40-50 years old.

    -Edit - LOL, I just looked at that news article and I'm standing right in the middle of the picture they published. I hope by boss doesn't see it since I skipped work to go there that day


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