From New York’s Island to the Redwood Forests, the great American hardware store maintains a revered place in the commercial history of these United States. Below are high performers representing Rhode Island, South Carolina and South Dakota.
• Rhode Island
Adler’s Design Center and Hardware
“Adler’s is open, we have plenty of shovels and ice melt, and our parking lot is plowed. So don’t be an RI wimp. Come and visit us.” That was the Facebook posting from Adler’s Design Center and Hardware on Dec. 27, the day after the blizzard snowed in millions of people in the Northeast. The Providence store was quick to use social media to seize an opportunity. Whether it is 2011 or 1919 -- when it opened as an Army-Navy store -- two goals remain: Treat each customer with respect and offer quality at a reasonable price. Today as then, customers are treated like guests.
• South Carolina
Simpson Ace Hardware
Plenty of Ace stores participate in the co-op’s brown bag sale event, but not many get this question on their Facebook page: “Will 20% be taken off guns and ammo?” (The answer was “yes,” if it fits in the bag.) Simpson Ace Hardware has combined hunting, fishing, sporting goods and home improvement at its flagship store in Sumter, S.C. Brand name flip-flops and sunglasses straps join electrical and plumbing in its newest unit. The other three locations (two in Sumter and one in Manning) are more traditional hardware stores, although they also carry some of the non-traditional SKUs.
• South Dakota
Twin City Hardware
Lots of people living in Deadwood, S.D., didn’t care much for the HBO series named after their small town. Too much cussing, prostitution and other unseemly behavior. “We don’t all swear like that,” said Les Bellet, who owns Twin City Hardware with his wife Cindy. “But the show was really good for the town.” Deadwood draws a couple million tourists a year, who come to gamble in the casinos and see where Wild Bill Hickok died. Twin City Hardware serves the needs of both residents (popula