Ayd Hardware, located in the Stoneleigh neighborhood of northern Baltimore, is a family-run store that opened in 1974.
The store was a stop for North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) staffers Sara Logel and Graeme Haase, who got to do what the organization prioritizes — meet and get to know independent retailers like you.
They visited Ayd Hardware while in Baltimore for the Independent Garden Center Show, and they discovered that the store has plenty of charm. The business is located in a historic building on a corner lot, and has a large brick wall covered in a mural that showcases information about the store, its history and its offerings.
The store sells items in core categories and also offers services such as lawnmower, lamp, glass and screen repairs.
Owner Vince Ayd uses the location to differentiate the store from other businesses. For example, rather than opting to extend an awning like surrounding stores or use light-up letters, Ayd decided to have the mural painted on the side wall, adding to the building’s character and making it stand out from the neighbors. A former employee, who was an art student at a nearby university, completed the mural.
Ayd Hardware also maximizes its exterior by using sidewalk space to showcase products and attract customers. The store displays lawnmowers, chairs, brooms, ladders and many other products outside alongside tomatoes and herbs growing in container gardens.
Ayd has personalized the interior of the store, as well. Customers who walk through the doors find a colorful space decorated with flags from around the world, including countries such as England and Syria. Ayd collects flags on his travels, and customers have also contributed flags of their own.
Ayd Hardware was one of the independent home improvement stores in Baltimore where Logel and Haase got to connect with owners and learn more about them and their day-to-day operations.