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  • Betty Girardeau

I Love Hardware Stores


This may not be the best image to go with the title of this blog, though it possibly does illustrate that someone besides me loves tools, too. I can't explain exactly why I am fascinated with hardware stores other than perhaps that this, too, is a legacy from my father. My Dad, who constantly had something he was working on, had an array of tools which fascinated me. And I often accompanied him when he would go to the hardware store for some new tool or part that he needed. In the little town where I grew up the hardware store was what we would consider old fashioned. The floors were well-worn hardwood. And there was a unique smell to the store, a mixture of varnish, metal, paint, leather, wood...and age. Nails, screws, brads, and other similar small metal items were not prepackaged and hung on display walls. They were in large bins from which the buyer would select how many he needed. I loved running my fingers through these bins as much as I loved similar ones filled with dried beans at one of the village's old grocery stores. When I first moved to Tennessee I was delighted to find a hardware store in the neighboring community of Sweetwater that was just like the one that I remembered from childhood with its large bins of nuts, bolts, and screws. I was saddened when it closed and the building was demolished a couple of years ago. But going to the hardware store today is just as much of a thrill for me. In fact since the array of items sold is even bigger than it used to be, with appliances, lamps, carpet, and nursery plants, is even more fun. Though I am not in the market for a kitchen remodel, I often enjoy wandering through the faux kitchens admiring the cabinets, countertops, faucets, lighting, and appliances and how they have been grouped to appeal to potential buyers. I have to be in a real hurry to just go into the store, find what I need, and check out. Usually I enjoy wandering up and down some of the aisles just to see if there is some new gadget or tool that would be good to have at some point or that would make a great gift for one of my children. This, of course, means that I frequently leave the store with a few more items than I had planned to get initially. My children must have inherited this love of tools, too, because they frequently will ask for Home Depot or Lowes gift cards for a birthday or Christmas. Modern hardware stores have lost some of the magic and, for the most part, that special hardware store smell of the past, but the expanded array of tools and gadgets more than make up for that loss. A trip to the hardware store remains one of my favorite shopping experiences.

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