Disappearing local hardware stores
You know you've got a good thing going when one of the big box hardware stores sends customers to you. It happens more than you think. But sadly more and more of the small local hardware stores are closing and going out of business.
We discovered another one here in Bristol; Edmonds Brothers Hardware is selling all of their product and closing after decades of service.
Current manager Preston Deal proudly shows an ad for the grand opening of Edmonds Brothers Hardware's new location. "The grand opening here in 1946 at this location. We've been here ever since. They call it the builders' department store. It was on the original sign is what they called it builders department store," he said.
And really nothing much has changed over the years, except for a sign in window that reads "going out of business."
The Edmonds Brothers formed in 1939. "R.J. and Allen Edmonds started the business and then Mr. Crockett came here at 18 as a bookkeeper. Then when R.J. Edmonds got killed in a car accident, Mr. Crockett and Mrs. R.J. Edmonds bought out the ownership from the two brothers," Deal says.
The shelves are lined not with the latest and most up-to-date items, but just what their customers needed. "There was a need for that. People needed some place to go to get those items and that was one thing that we could offer as a service that other people couldn't but that's also one of the problems. It's hard to make a living just off selling those products," Deal said.
Despite the pending closing, business has been good. Also lots of well wishers and old friends. "We've had a lot of people come by and express that. How much they appreciated us being here over the years and that makes us appreciate them even more too, but it's sad in a way," Deal said.
Another local hardware that's still in business and has those things you just can't find any where else is Thomas Hardware in Bluff City. "My husband built this store. He went into the hardware business in 1945. I still have local people that trade with me. If you stay here you'll see them coming and going. They don't buy a lot of merchandise but if they need something they always come here because they say if you can't find it go to Thomas Hardware they'll have it," owner Betty Thomas said.
And a trip around the store with Ms. Thomas lets you know that it's here and she knows where each piece and part is.
But places like this and Edmonds Brothers are what's getting harder to find, so what keeps Thomas hardware open? "It's been special over the years, a special place," Mrs. Thomas says.
And both still are and will remain so as long as we patronize our small local businesses.
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