The disappearing local hardware store

KARE 11 has a sure sign of the changing Minnesota economy today. In Minnetonka, a locally-owned hardware store is closing; a brewery and taproom is going to replace it.

We’ve got plenty of taprooms now, but the neighborhood hardware store is vanishing in a hurry.

Kraemer’s True Value Hardware will close in December. The owner of the business, which has been around for 109 years, says it seems like a good time to retire.

“I’m sure I know at least half the people who come in here, I probably know their name,” John Kraemer said.

He’s going to invest in the new brewery, the plan for which was approved by the Minnetonka City Council last night.

Beer and breweries might be the new economy, but someday you’re going to need a thingamajig.

The owners of the new brewery are still looking for new investors, City Pages reported last month. In exchange for the cash, investors get two free beers a day. For life.

  • MrE85

    Stanford University, we have located your mascot.

    • Rob

      I thought Stanford’s mascot was a deciduous variety

  • MrE85

    Why did the tree break the law? Because he said he wood.

  • Zachary

    Did they ask him to leaf first?

  • tboom

    I’m sure the tree would have responded if they had called in some male police dogs, provided there were no hydrants in the vicinity.

  • Rob

    Bob, thanks for the treemendous story.

  • crystals

    Maine, the way life should be.

  • RBHolb

    I thought that I would never see
    Two cops who would arrest a tree.

    • John

      A tree whose boughs are bound behind
      needled limbs, handcuffs entwined.

  • Jack

    Handcuff him to the traffic light and see how long it takes the local dogs to find him. Then he will be talking.

  • Alex

    Branching off from the tree puns…

    Is nobody at all going to question the assumption that silence is an indication of understanding? Given that English is not the official language of this country, I’d argue that there’s a reasonable possibility that the tree was unaware that a response was necessary or unaware of how to respond affirmatively or negatively, and I wonder if that warning could hold any legal weight. I realize that there’s no legal obligation to warn you that you will be arrested, but if some charge came through for failing to follow the instruction or warning, could that be challenged?

    • Jack

      Maybe the individual is dead?

      • Jack

        Deaf. Sorry for typo, way too early this morning.

        • Alex

          I saw your comment in my inbox this morning and my first thought was “Dead?… What?…”

          But, yeah, this is my point exactly. There are so many ways that silence is indicative of non-understanding that I have to imagine that a decent lawyer could make a case against any charges brought from not following the instructions.

        • >>Sorry for typo, way too early this morning.<<

          Protip: You can edit your posts.

          /Lord knows I have to on occasion

          • Jack

            Actually I can’t because I post under guest status. I gave up on the Disqus part since I forgot the password. That’s what happens when I post at 4 a.m. while prepping for a medical procedure. Won’t be posting again at that hour and will proofread next time :). Thanks for the suggestion though!

          • Rob

            I hope your colonoscopy went O.K. …

          • KenB

            Every time I see “Protip”, I wonder if there are any Antitips.

          • Ha! Good point.

        • DavidG

          As a deaf person (with CIs), this has been a long term fear of mine, especially with the seeming increase in cops shooting unarmed civilians over “non-compliance.”

  • Kassie

    Why are the hardware store and tree guy being arrested comments combined? Weird.

    • Jason Mock

      I’m guessing it’s related to the disqus issues, from the ddos attack. I’m also getting the Seatbelt article comments on the John Oliver story.

      • Somebody picked yesterday to change php hosts and it hosed up the whole system. All the posts disappeared. The triage necessary to get the posts back (basically cutting and pasting rather than recovering, which would’ve taken along time) gummed things up.

        • Jason Mock

          it’s been at most a minor inconvenience. And now, it’s offset entirely by the fact that I have a comment that’s been replied to directly by Bob. Overall, I’m calling this experience a win.

  • MrE85

    The last hardware store in downtown Stillwater is a brewery now, too. Thankfully, the Ace Hardware in my hood is not only still standing, it’s expanding.

  • Mike Worcester

    The economics of small-town (heck, any owner-operated) hardware stores are just brutal. They cannot compete with the bulk purchasing ability of the big boxers. When people are willing to drive miles out of their way to save $1.99 on a hammer, it’s hard for the main street shops to compete.

  • Gary F

    I used to sell to hardware stores back when there were Coast to Coasts and Our Own hardware. Lots a great people and great relationships.

    True Value had a motto twenty five years ago as being “your store of first choice”. I think people now go to hardware stores after the big boxes don’t have what they need.

    I still try to go to my local Ace when I can, but sometimes its straight to save big money.

  • rallysocks

    After not having a hardware store a couple of times, we finally have one open on Main Street again!

  • Angry Jonny

    My aunt owned and operated a hardware store in my hometown of Bagley for many years. It started as a Coast to Coast, then she moved locations and franchised with True Value until she went independent. She sold it about 10 years ago and retired. She was meticulous, exacting, and humbly knowledgeable about every single piece of inventory in her store. It’s still open as Mark’s Hardware.

    • I’ve had a dream for a long time of working in a hardware store when I retire. Alas, my new deafness has killed that idea. I’ll have to be content with browsing these treasures.