You Said It: Shop at These Local, Family-Owned Hardware Stores


By Darryl Rose for Make it Better

Local, trusted business relationships, especially those that last for generations, are hard to find. Fortunately, those of us who live in Chicago or the North Shore can find that kind of trusted advice right in our own neighborhood. Not only do we have some of the best hardware stores in the country, but our neighborhood hardware stores are also local, family-owned stores, the majority of which have been around for generations. Unbelievably, two of our hardware stores have been operating for five generations which means that the great, great, grandfathers and grandmothers of the current owners started the business by building the kinds of trusted relationships that continue today.

Like most of the small family-owned businesses that are no longer with us, Amazon and big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes have not been kind to the local hardware store. However, many of those stores who have worked tirelessly believed in superior customer service and built trust with every customer interaction have survived. According to a study by Independent We Stand, every time we spend a dollar at a local family-owned hardware store vs. a Home Depot or Lowes, two times the value of our money stays in our local community and supports the local economy helping to create local parks, Little League teams and bike paths.

Local family-owned hardware stores give us the kind of knowledgable help we can trust when we most need it and they add to the quality of life for our communities. The next time you have a project or need trusted advice think about supporting relative newcomers like Millen Hardware in Wilmette, Lake Forest Hardware and Libertyville Ace which have been serving our local communities for over two generations. Or visit Gordon’s Ace in Chicago and Northbrook Ace who have been giving us expert advice and the help we need for three generations. If you are in the neighborhood or live close by, stop by Lemoi Ace in Evanston or Mutual Ace in Highland Park who have been helping our neighbors with their home projects for over 5 generations. Now, those are businesses you can trust.

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