Monday, October 27, 2008

My Town Monday - Flavor

Once upon a Main Street, there was a hardware store. Not just any hardware store, mind you, but a magic time machine hardware store. The door stood propped open in the summer months, as they had no air conditioning. Many feet over the years had worn an indentation in the wooden aisle way. As you walked past the gum ball machine to the back, you passed rows of disorganized gadgets of all sorts. Mid-store, a counter divided the shop in two, and behind the counter stood people who knew where every nail and screw was hoarded in shelving behind the counter.

Instead of buying 1000 nails in a box, you could stand at the counter and describe your task, and that you needed only 10 nails to complete it. Knowing exactly what you needed, the sales clerk would disappear and return with 10 nails which were dumped into a paper sack. People stood around chatting. A bulletin board was littered with the business cards of local tradesmen.It was small town USA.

During my tenure here in this town, the owners, aged and ready to retire, sold the shop reluctantly, and promised to try to sell to new owners that would keep the shop open like it was. The new owners tried, combining the hardware business with their real love, computer services. With competition from StuffMart and large you-do-it stores that opened within a fifteen minute drive, the hardware store couldn't survive. They expanded the computer and laser services business, closed the hardware business, and a little bit of history died.

I know I'm not the only one who mourns this bit of history that has passed. Recently, dh and I went to dinner with new neighbors who asked why we settled in "My Town". Dh began, "Well, there used to be this hardware store on Main Street..."

11 comments:

debra said...

Which is why I don't ever go into any of the Marts. Small businesses are what make our towns what and who they are, rather than generic sprawl.

pita-woman said...

OMG!, granted, I wasn't working in this town when that hardware store was open, but when you were describing the wooden floor, I immediately thought of the computer store on Main Str., and even though I've only been in that place 1 time, the floor is what made the biggest impression on me (reminded me of some stores from my childhood in New Albany Ind.)... kindly blew my mind when I finished reading and found that's the exact place you were talking about.

Packsaddle said...

This is the first My Town Monday post I have ever read that didn't actually contain the name of the town being described.

With Halloween approaching, I figured the secrecy was intentional, which would make it like some kind of Scooby Doo mystery or something.

Is this the part where we split up and look for clues?

Kristina said...

We were saddened when we discovered the store had closed. It was just right there. And, it was on this side of the tracks, too.

Travis Erwin said...

We have a store like what you describe. Maybe I'll do a post on it sometime.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We have two stores in our area like that. I just love the smell of them. The new ones smell of fertilizer.

chuckmccky said...

There probably is a reason that the name of the town is not given. I suspect you would need to take one of the ghost tours to find out.

chuckmccky said...

There is an auto repair shop that I use in this same town. Last week I had a flat tire and needed to buy a new tire. They said that there was some warranty left on the old tire. They would find out how much and then call me to come in to pay for what I owed them...only at a small time business.

Jenny Jill said...

We have a lot of little town general stores like this in my region.
The floors creak when you walk in.
The smells are wonderful. The people are warm.

It is not worth it for the big box stores to come - our town holds 650 people!

Great post.

Barrie said...

"There used to be this hardware store on Main Street..." sounds like the beginning of a great tale!

Mary said...

I miss our hardware store as well. Actually, I miss hardware stores period as most of the ones I've known have fallen to the big marts.

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