The Big Box stores are here to stay, while corner hardware stores disappear. Thats just the way it is. Im not happy about it, but Im helping it happen. So are you.
A decades-old hardware store near me closed recently when the owner the last of the family interested in running it passed away. The store was all but closed anyway, with almost no clientele to speak of. Still, it was a neat old place to go with its wood floors, metal bins and items like shovels hanging on the wall. But I never went there to buy anything.
I have another small hardware store by me a chain store, though, not a Mom-and-Pop that I go to occasionally when I need something the Big Box stores dont have, like slotted steel screws. But to be honest, thats the only time I go there.
The fact is that for everything else I need, its much cheaper at either the Big Boxes or at one of the ubiquitous Wal-Marts. A simple item trash bags, say can easily cost twice as much at a local hardware store as they do at Wal-Mart, Lowes or Home Depot. And the further fact is that as much as I want the local stores to do well, I just cant afford to shop there. And if youre honest with yourself, few regular people can.
You go to local outlets that charge more when you need something only they have. When I need those screws I go to mine because the Big Boxes dont have them, or when you need 200 bf of cherry you go to whatever supplier you have because the Big Boxes dont have that either. Sure, if you need something in a really big hurry, or if the weather is bad, or youre on the wrong side of town, maybe youll stop in the local store and pay double for those trash bags. But otherwise youd dont. Its impractical and economically foolish to do so.
And thats just the way it is. Ill mourn when all the little Mom-and-Pop stores are gone, but its the natural course of events. Just like carriage shops and other anachronisms, theyll become a nostalgic part of our past. Its perfectly natural for this to happen, because its happened with hundreds upon hundreds of other things. Doesnt mean I have to like it, though.
Or feel less guilty about it.
Till next time,