I am the only person in my family who doesn’t drink and yet I managed to smash a glass and lose my keys at a family wedding on the weekend. Then yesterday, I lost my sunglass clip. Today, I was retracing my steps from my communal garden to the bank and decided to stop in and get another key cut at Gandy’s Home Hardware. When I got there, the door was locked and there was a sign on it: in receivership. Another one in a long line of small family owned businesses that have been forced to close shop, because of high rents and competition from the big box stores.
Over the many years I have lived in Kits I have gotten my keys cut there, bought various screws, glues, paints, cleaning supplies, small appliances, garden soil, and the list goes on. The customer service there was always superb. You’re lucky if you can even find a staff person in the big box stores.
When I refinished some furniture a few years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. The guys at Gandy’s talked me through the process the whole way. At one point I brought one of the shelves I was staining into the store and they all gathered around giving me pointers and feedback.
As I was taking a picture of the store today, a guy pulled up on his bike and tried the door. When I told him they were in receivership he was visibly upset. “Too many people shopping at big box stores,” I said. “I can’t just ride over to Home Depot,” he said. Nope, and can’t just pop over for advice or to get my keys cut anymore.
Losing my keys and my sunglass clip is inconvenient and maybe even expensive to replace, but it doesn’t compare to the loss of my favourite hardware store.