Design Architecture

8 of the Great Independent American Hardware Stores

It’s easy to get lost in the aisles of a big box home improvement store. Although the big chains are often well-staffed, their sheer size means you can't always find a knowledgable employee when you need help picking out a wood stain or choosing sheetrock. If you need an expert opinion when purchasing supplies for your next home improvement, consider heading to your local independent hardware store. Many of these shops have been a part of the community for generations, so you can bet they know their stuff, and that they'll be ready to help when you need it most. There are still a number of great independent hardware stores all over the country that continue to serve customers in a very personal way. Here are 8 stand-outs that made our list.

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Newtown Hardware – Newtown, PA

Located on historic State Street, in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Newtown Hardware has been serving customers continuously at this location since 1869. This 5000-square-foot, 2-floor establishment is efficiently packed with a broad selection of tools, fasteners, paint, plumbing and electrical supplies, lawn and garden products, unique housewares, and more. But what makes this store stand out is the personal assistance and special services it provides. They still cut keys, repair screens, rewire lamps, and re-glaze windows at Newtown Hardware, securing the store a reputation as a community treasure.

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Ayers’ Variety & Hardware – Westover, VA via Ayers Variety & Hardware

Ayers’ Variety & Hardware specializes in just about everything. Whether you’re hunting for screws, lawn decorations, toys, or fishing line, you’ll be able to find it in this legendary Westover, Virginia establishment. Established by World War II vet, John W. Ayers, it continued to be a community linchpin, even after being turned over to employees in a profit-sharing plan in 1968. Owned by the Kaplan family since 1977, its dedication to customers and community are what makes it great. Case in point? One winter, with a blizzard headed for Westover, employees made an out-of-town trip for ice melt after all the local big boxes had run out. Now, that’s service!

Chagrin Hardware – Chagrin Falls, OH via elizabethe

Chagrin Hardware has evolved over the years but one thing hasn’t changed: its dedication to customers. This independent hardware store has been operating on Main Street in Chagrin Falls, Ohio since before the Civil War
. Chagrin Hardware has changed its stock over the years to keep up with the times; they even sold cars in the 1920s and ’30s—one at a time, too, because that’s all there was room to display. Today the 19th century shelves (some made out of old ammunition crates) hold 21st century products, ready to serve the modern day needs of today’s homeowners. 

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Bryant Hardware – Minneapolis, MN

Bryant Hardware has a friendly, knowledgeable staff that is ready to help you find anything you need for your next project. But they also have a large inventory of obscure hardware and architectural details, perfect for those undertaking a historic home renovation.

Larson’s Hardware Hank – Osage, IA

Hardware Hank, located on Main Street in Osage, Iowa, has been owned and operated by the Larson family since 1979. It maintains a family atmosphere while being a one-stop-shop for the needs of its local customers. They sell everything from automotive and building products to ranch and pet supplies. Customers can stop in to get a chain saw sharpened, rent a carpet cleaner, and apply for fishing and hunting licenses—all in the same trip.

Related: 16 Iconic American Homes Torn Down Before Their Time

Our Hardware – Baton Rouge, LA via Our Hardware

Located on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Our Hardware prides itself on providing its customers with the solutions they need at the best price. And they do. But the real gem at Our Hardware is owner Henry Bingham, whose advice and service customers have come to trust.

Sloan’s Hardware – Vonore, TN

Business is booming at Sloan’s, situated in Vonore, Tennessee, despite being located across the street from a Super Walmart. How does this independent operation compete? They cater to their local clientele, and offer groceries and sporting goods along with a full service hardware. Sloan’s focus on serving its customers has made it a superior one-stop-shopping experience since 1901.

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Felton Hardware – Felton, DE

At Felton Hardware, they have everything you need to get the job done, all in one place. The store may be well-stocked but according to local fan, Matthew Windsor, “It’s really about the staff, not the stuff,” at Felton Hardware. The employees are both knowledgeable and eager to help their inquisitive customers find the right tools and materials for the task at hand. That sterling customer service is what makes this independent hardware store one of Delware’s finest.