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Collection Adds to Store’s Old-Time Feel

What started as a hobby has turned into a talking point at Bill Warren’s hardware store.

Warren’s Village Hardware in Lewiston, New York, is home to a variety of old tools that include everything from a Civil War-era brace to a floor nailer made in 1892, and everything in between.

“At one time, my wife had an antique shop, so we developed an interest in the old tools that were there,” Warren says. “It’s grown from there. Now, whenever we’re out, I look for them and see if there’s anything to add to my collection.”

He also gets donations from customers who have old tools they’d like to add to the store’s collection.

“They’ll see our collection and remember they have something in their basement, and they’ll bring it in,” he says. “It’s a good conversation starter, too—they’ll tell stories about how they remember their grandfather using some of these tools. It evokes memories and creates a relationship with the customer.”

The collection is displayed near the ceiling around the edge of the store.

“We just keep building our collection,” Warren says. “As we run out of space, we’ll create more. It’s fun to see the old tools and to see the reactions from customers, too.

“Customers want the old-time hardware store again, but they also like everything to look clean and new,” he says. “We’ve blended those ideas and given them the best of both worlds with our old-time tools in a nice hardware store.”

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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