Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

There’s something about a hardware store May 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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PICTURE A SMALL TOWN hardware store and what image comes to mind?

Mine: Narrow aisles, wood floors, loose bolts and nails tucked into cubbies along the wall, and rolls of coiled, perforated caps for cap guns.

That was the 1960s.

Today most hardware stores don’t sell in bulk. Everything’s pre-packaged. I doubt you’ll find caps for a cap gun or wood floors either.

Jerry's ACE Hardware in the small town of Kenyon, Minnesota.

Jerry’s ACE Hardware in the small town of Kenyon (not Faribault), Minnesota.

Yet, the hardware store remains a small town staple, the go-to place for plumbing supplies, mouse traps, paint, other basic essentials of home repair and more.

I live in a community of nearly 25,000, no small town by my definition. Faribault has two hardware stores, one of them, ACE, in the downtown area. The place is busy, always busy. It’s not because prices are low. Rather it’s because of the service.

From the moment you walk in the door, an employee is there to answer your questions, lead you to whatever it is you need. And that worker sticks around until he/she is certain you have what you need. These folks are, for the most part, knowledgeable.

You can’t beat great customer service.

And then there’s that help-yourself-to-a-bag-of-popcorn popcorn machine…

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling