The Hamlet Hardware Store
by Russ Lancaster
Every town has its own curiosity shop. In Hamlet, that would be the Hamlet Hardware Store. It sells hardware all right, but it is about much more than that. It is located on Hamlet Avenue in the downtown area and has been there since before I was born in 1941. It is family owned and operated by the McDonalds. Yes, brothers, sisters, children...all McDonalds, have found a way to earn a nice living by running a kind of store that you wouldn't believe. It is magical...No matter how many McDonald's are born, when they come of age, they are made a part of the family business.
If you need hardware, you can find it at Lowe's and Home Depot and places like that but you can get it at Hamlet Hardware too. The difference is, if you need something old, out of date, no longer made, don't know the name of the part or whatever, you can only get it at a place like this. These folks know their business.
At the Hamlet Hardware, you can still buy a bolt or nut and stuff like that by the piece. You can still buy nails by the pound. Try that at your local Lowe's or Home Depot.
Also, as I said, it is much more than a hardware store. You can buy fresh roasted peanuts, fresh vegetables (in season), and stuff you won't find anywhere else. Stuff like feather dusters for instance.
My sister-in-law from Germany wanted to buy a feather duster on one of her visits here in the seventies. I told my wife (Helga) to take her down to Hamlet Hardware. They sell everything.
After six wasted weeks of looking everywhere else, they took her down there and found it right away. These are the kinds of items regular stores don't stock anymore. You can find almost anything here and get it with a smile.
That is one of the secrets of their successful business. Smiles, friendship, good conversation. All are found at the Hamlet Hardware.
They sell pecans (in season) and will even go so far as to tell you which ones are good and which are not. You ask, "why would they have some that are not good". Because they are honest, trusting folks that buy their pecans on the word of the sellers and sometimes get some that are not up to par.
Last summer (1997), my daughter, Petra, went in to buy some fresh Okra. She left her bank envelope with her money lying on the counter. When she realized it 10 minutes later and went back, it was still there even though the store was full of people. Their honesty rubs off on others.
They laughed and handed it back to her and gave her a huge tomato that was 3 tomatoes grown into one and would not charge her. You won't find that at Home Depot, will you?
This summer (1998), my son-in-law, Steve, stopped by the Hamlet Hardware on his way to the North Carolina coast from Charlotte. He found the wooden handles he had been looking for to fix his wheelbarrow. Couldn't find them at Lowe's but he found them there with no problem.
While he was there, they sliced a fresh Georgia peach and let him have some....can't get that at Lowe's either. He topped that off with some of their fresh roasted peanuts and top notch friendly conversation. Said they even had a copy of this story for everyone to see. First class folks, those McDonalds, and they run a first class business with hospitality found no where else.
We give the Hamlet Hardware an A+ for service, products and honesty. They are still there in 1998 and will likely be there as long as there is a Hamlet.
Yes, I remember the Hamlet Hardware store .. and .. I remember Hamlet!
Note* Since submitting this as one of my Hamlet memories, I have heard from McDonald's associated with that great store from all over. Thanks to all for the nice comments and for the memories you have given all of us....
This section is to honor the works of Russ Lancaster who started the “I Remember Hamlet” web site years ago. Without his pioneering the web at that time we might not have gathered all these memories of our Hamlet, NC. We thank you Russ for what you started in 1996, may you Rest in Peace. Russ was kind enough to let me download his web site before he took it down. Thank you Russ.
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