Like a kick in the gut comes the news today that Seven Corners Hardware in Saint Paul is closing.
Given the number of people we see on the occasions when we’ve slipped out of work to browse the 9 inch-wide aisles (it’s the only retail store I know of that carries the band-saw blade I need), it’s hard to believe it’s an economic decision.
“I have growing business interests in California and Nevada that have been requiring more and more of my time, and so traveling back and forth between the Midwest and the West Coast has become increasingly difficult,” owner Bill Walsh said in a news release.
The store was founded in 1933 and its closing is yet another blow to a downtown area. Despite the boosterism of local officials, if you work downtown and need to buy something, you’re not likely to find it. In the case of Seven Corners, you could find just the right grommet in an entire room full of widgets. Its staff knew what you needed to do on just about any project, even if you didn’t and were reluctant to acknowledge it.
The store also repaired power tools, an increasingly outdated talent in a throw-it-away world.
There should still be a place in this world for a hardware store where the floors creak.
It should make yet another fine location for a bar for the hockey crowd, though the Star Tribune says a developer may build a hotel on the land.