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Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Buying local and the great hardware experience...

Despite all the "hype" about their great operation (see "Longed-For Store Arrives in Tenleytown" from the Washington Post and this set of articles and press releases) I have never managed to shop at one of the hardware stores owned by Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman.

They started with Logan Hardware, opened other stores in Tenleytown and Glover Park, more recently they opened 5th Street Hardware downtown in the City Vista, and they are planning a new store in Old Takoma in Takoma Park, Maryland.

But I was going to a talk at the Historical Society and I was ahead of schedule and decided to "trip chain" and stop at this hardware store, because it's a couple blocks from my final destination.

While I believe fervently in buying local, I don't believe in buying local if the quality of what you're offered is substandard.

You do not have to worry about that at 5th Street Hardware.

1. When you walk in you are immediately acknowledged.
2. They ask you what you came in for, and you are directed to the location of the items you want. (Most everything is upstairs on the second floor).
3. And there are people to help you scattered around the store.
4. The store is well laid out, roomy enough given the confines, with wayfinding signage (aisle signs listing the content of each row).
5. And it is merchandised well enough that you end up buying other things that their displays "remind you" that you need.

When you leave, they tell you about things you can do in the neighborhood, specifically that Sunday, they mentioned the Downtown Holiday Market, as well as the Liberty Market, the Tuesday night food and craft market on the grounds of the Historical Society.

I was very impressed, all around, with my experience. They provide a great experience. And they connect to the broader neighborhood as well. It's not just about their store.

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