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Hardware Stores Are Thriving, Thank You!

September 20, 1987|Dale Baldwin

From Learned Hardware, 3122 State St., Santa Barbara, to Haidet's Hardware, 66396 Pierson Blvd., Desert Hot Springs, the response to my quest for real hardware stores in the Aug. 2 column has been fantastic.

I'm glad to find readers who share my enthusiasm for this important link with our past--not to mention a great place to get help on obsolete plumbing fixtures on Saturday morning.

Hardware stores are apparently thriving in the San Gabriel Valley, judging by the response. Judy Carter of San Marino nominates Pasadena Hardware Co., 121 E. Union (at Arroyo Parkway), Pasadena, as her favorite. This store dates back to 1886 and comes complete with authentic wood floors, a basement (yes, Pasadena was settled by Midwesterners who considered basements as essential as shoes or shirts) with rolls of wire, pipes, rope, etc.

Virginia Skoglund of San Gabriel is fortunate enough to have two good stores in her town: Mission Super Hardware, 501 W. Valley Blvd., and Smith Hardware, 101 W. Las Tunas Drive. Helen Wilson of San Marino likes Smith Hardware and also San Marino Hardware, 2134 Huntington Drive, San Marino.

Frank and Barbara Hinman of South Pasadena patronize Balk's Hardware, 1518 Mission St., South Pasadena, run by former South Pasadena Mayor Les Balk.

As befits a city with many older houses, Balk's has "many hard to find items for the older home," Barbara Hinman said. She also likes Arnold's Hardware & Gifts, 297 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre.

I've personally visited most of the stores mentioned this time around, since they were there in '84 when I conducted the first hardware store quest.

Eagle Rock, that part of L. A. squeezed between Glendale and Pasadena, is the home of Tritch Hardware, 1620-22 Colorado Blvd. Dave Moreno of Glendale, an Eagle Rock native, rediscovered this store when he bought a 1929-vintage house: "Being an incompetent handyman with an old house, I had many projects and repairs to try to accomplish. Every single question I had was answered for me at Tritch."

John Sowers of Santa Barbara was one reader who mentioned Learned Hardware, where the motto is "If we don't have it, you don't need it!" Sounds a lot like a place in the fictional but so real Lake Wobegon, Minn.

Ventura County is home to Meiners Oaks Hardware, 108 W. El Roblar Drive, according to Maggie Garrett of Ojai. She finds the store's service to women do-it-yourselfers far above average at this store, where "sooner or later, you see everybody from Ojai."

In downtown Ventura, Dan McKenzie runs Hess Hardware, according to Anne Reid of Ventura. It's at 377 E. Main St., in the heart of the thrift/antique shop district, not far from the mission.

Desert Hot Springs is home to Haidet's Hardware, a favorite of that desert community's Helen Carey. Haidet's has been a family-owned operation since 1945, she said.

Marilyn David of San Clemente is in love with Wilma Bloom's Ace Hardware Store on Avenida Del Mar in San Clemente: "Since I discovered Wilma's store I no longer suffer from insecurities and fears . . . . This, of course, is all due to the friendly staff that really does care," she said, explaining that, as a single parent, she feared only two things: "taking my car to a mechanic alone and going into a hardware store for miscellaneous small household repair items."

Marti Love of Hollywood loves Wilshire Hardware, 857 S. Vermont Ave., Richard Wolin, proprietor.

I'll list more stores in a future column, covering such diverse areas as the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, Chino, Ontario, Riverside, Redondo Beach and Orange County.

Thanks to those who wrote in nominating their favorites.

The fall and winter schedule of Saturday "Planning Kitchen Remodeling" classes by Jo Davis and Ann Otto of Kitchen Decisions starts off Sept. 26 with a 9 a.m.-1 p.m. session at Cal State Long Beach. The next session is Oct. 17 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Los Angeles Harbor College, followed by a 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 24 session at Glendale Community College. In November, the course will be held on Nov. 21 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at Pasadena City College. There are no classes in December; January courses are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 9 at Pasadena City College, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 23 at Los Angeles Harbor College. More information: Kitchen Decisions, P.O. Box 5973, Pasadena, Calif. 91107.

Donald Reinke of Orbis International, the firm mentioned in my July 19 column, wrote to say that his bath tub safety strips are not available in stores--yet. A package of five transparent anti-skid tub strips or 16 squares that can be used for tiled showers can be obtained from Orbis International, P.O. Box 112, Santa Paula, Calif. 93060. The cost is $16.95 for each set, postage paid.

I've recently received the Classic Hardware II catalogue from Garrett Wade Co. Inc. Virtually every configuration of door knob, hinge, pull, escutcheon, shelf bracket, drawer slide, etc. is illustrated. The catalogue is indispensable for serious woodworkers.

It costs $2 from Garrett Wade, 161 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10013. Once you're on their list, you'll probably get it forever!

My copy of the Garrett Wade catalogue was accompanied by a "Master Craftsman" flyer describing a variety of hand and power tools, including the Swiss-made Inca line that many serious woodworkers swear by. Inca tools are available in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas at the Cutting Edge stores.

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