Steve Stephens | Ticket to Write: Pieces of the past found in a stockpile of old equipment


While rummaging through my collection of miscellaneous hardware and other potential pieces for my home’s future, I occasionally come across a ghost of hardware stores from the past.

Some go back almost to the dawn of (my) time.

I fondly remember visiting hardware stores and discount department store hardware aisles with my Grandpa Mike back when I was probably old enough, but not responsible enough, to carry a hammer.

Grandpa loved a good deal, a trait that passed to me. When I inherited his tools and much of his gear, some items were still marked with price stickers from places like Gold Circle and Rinks.

Even now, when I rummage through one of my boxes of plumbing or electrical supplies, I find a room still marked with a price tag in one of those long-gone stores.

Some say it’s a sign that I should let Marie Kondo enter my heart and my studio. But I have found uses for dozens of these old, but new, pieces of equipment over the past three decades which I would say to Mary do indeed bring me joy.

Of course, Grandpa isn’t the only one responsible for the old stickers and labels lying around in my workshop. Over the past four decades, I myself have frequented many home improvement chains, lumber yards, and hardware stores that have since become retail heaven, or at least outside of central Ohio. .

Hechinger was once my go-to place for all my home improvement needs, at least after Central Hardware closed around 1995. But Hechinger followed suit shortly before the turn of the millennium.

I don’t know about you, but it takes me several visits to familiarize myself with a home improvement store, learn its secrets, pinpoint the exact location of its rebar, quarter rounds, drawer pulls and other mysterious delicacies. .

Ever since Hechinger left the scene, I’ve been a Home Depot guy with an occasional foray into Lowe’s territory. But recently, I decided to give Menards a ride after opening a new store several miles from home than Big Orange or Big Blue.

The store was awesome – clean, well stocked, well appointed. But my learning curve was steep. By the time I figured out how to find what I needed and where and how to pay for it and pick it up, an entire morning had passed.

Now that I am no longer a beginner, I will probably be back. However, I certainly won’t give up on my favorite Home Depot or Lowe’s. Yet deep down inside, I can’t help but wonder when will they, like Hechinger, abandon me?

When I’m in this state of mind, I like to go to the venerable Dwyer Bros. hardware store. in London. They’ve been in business since 1888. And if I look in my hardware boxes, I can probably find a few pieces of their merchandise that date back a good part of the way.

Steve Stephens is Dispatch’s home reporter. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SteveStephens.

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