The local hardware store has become a rare breed, but with his focus on the neighborhood and do-anything mentality, David Schwartz has kept his family business going strong.
Schwartz Hardware, located at 1909 N. 54th St. in Wynnefield, boasts a sign that promises, “We fix everything but broken hearts.” The store was founded in 1959 by Schwartz’s father, making it one of the oldest continuously running businesses in Wynnefield.
- The narrow shop is filled to the brim with everything one would expect from a hardware shop and more. Tools and appliances sit next to porcelain piggy banks, lining the shelves from front to back. It may look eccentric, but the novelty of the random knick-knacks only adds to the store’s charm.
Schwartz, a stout man with a full head of grey hair, glasses, blue jeans and a sweater vest, constantly moved around the store. If he wasn’t conducting business on the phone, he was helping a customer in the front. If no one was around to help, he had something in his hands.
Schwartz seemed to like the busy work.
“It’s a lot of work, it’s continuous, it’s open six days a week, but it’s really a seven-day-a-week job. We start in the morning and we work all throughout the day, “ he said with a smile.
Schwartz said he is proud of his business for its customers and the services that are unique to Schwartz Hardware. Although Schwartz has never lived in Wynnefield, he said that he feels a connection to the neighborhood.
“I have no problem with the neighborhood or the people in the neighborhood,” Schwartz said. “That’s why I am here, because I love it.”
Among Schwartz Hardware’s regular customers are the numerous neighborhood churches, which receive special discounts.
“We support all the local churches in the neighborhood,” Schwartz boasted, “and we don’t favor any of them; we’re favorable to all of them.”
Although locally owned hardware stores have largely become a thing of the past, thanks to the prevalence of big-box stores, Schwartz said he feels that his store’s focus on customer service makes up for Schwartz Hardware’s disadvantage in inventory.
“I think anyone can run a hardware store anywhere,” Schwartz said. “Working 18 hours a day, I think that is the secret to hardware stores being run well. No, I wouldn’t give it up for anything; this is my pride and joy.”