Covered up for over three decades, a set of historic windows at Meyer Ace Hardware in Petoskey, Michigan, are opening up a new view. Co-owner Matt Meyer says the windows were boarded over during the 1970s energy crisis because they were inefficient. The windows overlook Pennsylvania Park, which is popular with tourists and home to the Blue Star Memorial, Farragut’s Cannon, a statue of a young Ernest Hemingway and a community gazebo.
“Previously, when you were in the park and looking toward our store, you wouldn’t have known there’s a hardware store with unique and fun items,” Meyer says. “All you could see was brick and plywood.”
When they first uncovered and restored the windows, Meyer says he planned on putting up 7-foot fixtures in front of the windows and displaying housewares for people to see from the outside.
“Once we saw the view of the park from inside the store, we completely changed direction,” Meyer says. “We are now using smaller, shorter display tables so customers can see out of the windows.”
During the energy crisis of the 1970s, the original windows were covered up because they were inefficient and caused costly drafts in the store. Meyer says the windows are being restored with a new frame and glass that will be more energy efficient.
Meyer used the window project as a fun way to connect with customers on social media.
“When we first pulled off some of the brick and plywood, we saw there was some lettering,” he says. “We shared a photo of the first letter on the window on social media asking customers to guess what they thought the word was. It was a fun endeavor, and nobody ended up guessing the correct word.”
It turned out the word was “Washers.” The wording matched that found at the top of the front windows. Meyer hired a painter to strip the old paint off and repaint the same wording.
As a hardware store in a destination town, Meyer Ace Hardware carries local items and gifts, and Meyer says he plans to utilize the new windows to display these specialty items.
“The new windows highlight our housewares and gift items,” he says. “We’re also planning on adding more souvenir-type items customers can purchase to remember their time in Petoskey and will display those items in that area as well.”
Read about other retailer renovations here.