Old school business piques old school rivalry

Hardware2017_1Well, it never fails. If you write about an old business, you will be inundated by the owners of older businesses wondering why you didn’t include them. Exhibit A is right here.

I saw an old hardware store and thought, “Gee, I wonder how they survive against those giants like Home Depot and Menard’s, etc.” Simple. I thought.

I talked to them and some customers and another shop that’s also been around 100-plus years. Both of them are run by the fourth generation of family members.

You can probably guess what happened next, the first call Monday morning (this story ran on a Sunday) was from two brothers who own an older hardware store and are fifth generation. Since then, I’ve gotten calls from sixth generation owners and customers of all types of old school shops wondering why in the world my story wasn’t more comprehensive.

It’s hard not to appreciate their enthusiasm even when they are insisting that I was being malicious in my seemingly willful disregard for their longevity.

It doesn’t take long to explain that the story was not intended to be comprehensive, just a little smile-inducing reminder of the mom-and-pop shops that used to be standard, not the exception.

Everyone has been pretty understanding, in the meantime, I’ve told my boss that perhaps the paper needs to invest in a old school business specialist. There seems to be a lot of demand out there.  See the full story here. Old-school hardware stores thriving in high-tech world.

In my column next week, I’ve already decided to give a shout-out to some of the businesses that called, but something tells me that will lead to a few more callers. You can also see my “Retail Details” column from Sunday in the clips below.

(Update: Click for the link. I did give a shout-out to three related businesses that are over the century mark in my next column and miraculously, no one else has complained.)


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