The Simplicity of Michigan Hardware Stores, 1900-1951
Before there were corporate hardware acres like Ace, Home Depot, Lowe's, Menard's, and True Value, there were plenty of smalltown mom & pop hardware stores.
These were the little shops that brought charm to hardware. Need some nails? Stop in to Flye's, Meyer Brothers, Thiede's, Salisbury's, Burnham's, or any other small independent shop. And while you're there, set a spell, have a pretzel, and talk awhile.
Another big part of these shops' charm was the size of the shop.....small, indeed. Many were about the size of a Speedway party store. But everything you needed was there.
Now, when you visit a big corporate hardware shop, you can't find anything without help. After walking a few miles thru the store, you finally ask for help. A call is made over the PA system that sounds like “UNGHLFRAMMACHUBLLDGIDSHHSSF”. Even though you know what you told them, you still can't understand a blessed word they said. And then it takes awhile for someone to actually give you a hand...you stand around for up to a half hour waiting...that happened to me a few times. And I ended up helping myself – nobody came.
Luckily, we still have some small town hardware stores that are a pleasure to visit. So the next time you need a hammer or screws, visit one.
Now take a look at the photo gallery below for over fifty vintage images of Michigan's old hardware stores, ranging from 1900-1951!