There’s a certain feeling one gets when walking into a small town hardware store. It’s more than just a smell, sight or product display. Good ones are like an old friend beckoning you in to “make yourself at home.”
Elite connoisseurs of hardware store visitations rate a hardware store by how much time they can pass without noticing. And I confess, I’m one of those elite professionals, able to lose huge amounts of time in a hardware store, exit with much more than I went in for, and always take at least three trips there to complete a project.
My induction into this elite group was on a sunny Saturday morning, on July 15, 1972. My Dad said, “son, let’s go to the True Value Hardware Grand Opening.” Now, you have to realize, as a young thinker and tinkerer that created at least five magnificent things by 8 a.m. every morning, those are words to live for.
Bam! I was in the car, honking the horn, and cranking up WRON to blast the top ten hit Donny Osmond’s “Puppy Love.” When we got there, it was packed, and that’s the first time I learned how to make time disappear. Until my Dad told me to help carry the boring white ceiling tiles he just scored for 10 cents each. What happened to that fancy gadget I had been ogling and counting my money to see if I had enough?
And dear readers, I’m guessing, like me, the Lewisburg True Value has been your ‘go-to’ store for just about everything for as long as you can remember. For me, it’s spanned 50 years. I can count at least half a dozen houses that I’ve repaired, 100s of barbeques saved with last minute trips, 1,590 treehouses built, and 23,343 experiments that required glue, paint, bolts, nails, tools, batteries and parts that can always be found in the black hole depths of the seemly small store. And if you ever got lost, well, you had the “Guides.”
Pat Morris, Bev Withrow and Jim Withrow have served as your main Guides, experts and entertainers over the years. They’ve always been quick to help you find anything you need, even if you really didn’t need it, and their wit and laughs were always free. They made the place the pinnacle of knowledge, an all-knowing cognoscenti of fact of how to fix it fast and easy, by yourself. They invented DIY. Over the years they’ve seen it all, from trying to figure out the crazy ideas to cars smashing through their front doors. And regardless of the day, month or season, they’ve always been there to help with whatever project you were trying to do, create or fix.
As a teenager, I left Lewisburg in 1982, traveled the world, then moved back in the winter of 2017 with my wife and young kids. And even though 35 years had passed, True Value was still there. I said to my sons, “let’s go get some sleds, boys!” and we headed to True Value with Ed Sheeran blasting on the radio.
When we got there, it was like home. Laughs were had, and instant knowledge on the cool red sleds in the window was immediately offered. The only difference was, I noticed Jim had lost some of his fingers.
To the True Value family we’ve all known over the years, thank you for your knowledge, laughter and service you’ve given us all. We’ll all miss you greatly.