Best Hardware Store That Sells More Than Just Tools

Remember those old mom-and-pop hardware stores? The U District's Hardwick's is a family-owned place that has the tools that were used to build those old stores. Around since the Depression, Hardwick's is part hardware store, part furniture store, part Goodwill, and part museum. Its warren of aisles, nooks, and bins features, for starters, at least one of every peavey, sledge, and ball-peen hammer ever made, along with a collection of hurricane lamps and Japanese handsaws. There are old lawn mowers, newfangled clippers, chairs, tables, arcane hand axes, and small kitchen appliances last seen in 1960s sitcoms. A swap shop as well, Hardwick's pays cash or will trade merchandise for rare tools. The store's owners constantly restock by sweeping up factory closeouts and salesman's samples, and, it is rumored, showing up after train wrecks and highway spills to buy in bulk. The eclectic wares are relentlessly gathered and shelved in the belief, as founder Charles Hardwick liked to say, that "everything will sell in seven years." After three-quarters of a century, that patient formula seems to be working.—Rick Anderson 4214 Roosevelt Way N.E., 632-1203, www.ehardwicks.com.

 
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