Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite stores in the small southern town where I was born was Tupelo Hardware. I loved walking the aisles lined with glass-fronted showcases full of Case knives, and wooden cabinets; I loved craning my neck up to the tin ceiling to the shelves that reached up, up, up and that needed a sliding ladder for the clerks to climb far out of my reach for things like poisons to kill vermin—rats, moles and, yuk, cockroaches! I was fascinated by all the different types and sizes of nails and screws in the metal bins, letting the washers, as shiny as a new nickel, drop from my palm back into the bin, mesmerizing.
I was a little frightened by the wooden-handled axes; they grew from some that would fit my seven-year-old hand to those that only a giant in my fairy tale books could wield. The saws, sharpened hoes, the short metal teeth of the garden rakes and the long spider-like prongs of the leaf rakes were scary too. I was always accompanied by my mom and dad, of course, who threw in a trip to Kermit’s Bakery next door and where they had the best Brownies in the world! Still do.
I loved the trips we made to my Uncle’s Western Auto store in a little town just 23 miles from Tupelo. New Albany (where I would meet and marry Bill) was smaller, probably no more than 3,000 people, but the largest town in Union county and amazingly there were two stores selling hammers, nails, vermin poison, wheel barrows, hatchets and Case knives. The Hamilton family ran a store on the same side of the same street; for years their competition was fierce coupled with that of a Feed and Seed store on a street that ran parallel.
What those two did not have that my Uncle Bruce did have were tires, car jacks, car parts, and best of all Popcorn. Oh, and at Christmas his windows were full of shiny new bikes, dolls and doll houses, chemistry sets and trains. A Wonderland!
When Bill and I moved to the south side of Peachtree City 37 years ago, Gilroys was our “go to” place for curtain rods, paint, picture hangers, plus the usual nails, screws, door knobs and hardware in general. I loved their slogan, still do: “Gilroy’s Got It! They usually do. And pleasant service, also true of my uncle’s store and of Tupelo Hardware—they always tossed in a ruler or a polishing rag if dad bought car wax for our black 1950 Ford, which he did a lot. Does anyone polish their car anymore? I know there was always car washing and polishing going on before Bill picked me up for a Saturday date. Guys were proud of how well they took care of their jalopies or of the family car—in Bill’s case. That must be a thing of the past, that Saturday ritual. I never see young men out polishing (or even washing cars) on the weekend.
Some Saturdays when we lived in PTC we would drive over to Senoia just to browse through Hutchinson’s Hardware. What an Emporium! Jimmy Hutchinson was famous for his merchandise, stacked, piled, and shelved from floor to ceiling and he was more famous for being able to find whatever you needed in the myriad of stock he had on hand. “If we haven’t got it, we’ll get it!” Once a car dealership, and then a hardware store passed down through three or four generations, the store and the Hutchinson’s are legend.
Sadly, since the iconic landmark store closed some years ago and became clever boutique shops, Senoians have been bereft of any store where one could buy the simplest items for home projects. Bill moaned and groaned every time he had to get in the truck for the long trip to Home Depot, sometimes even griping that a trip to Gilroys was taking a chunk of time out of his day just to replace a blade on some tool or other. Then, it happened. Our dream came true.
For weeks Bill and I watched the busy construction site off Hwy 16, just across the street from Dollar General, and just five minutes from our home in Senoia. And now we, among thousands of other hopefuls, have finally been granted our fondest wish—a new hardware emporium for our growing city! The beautiful brick and mortar free-standing building is everything it should be and has just about anything you could possibly be looking for, and more. Hometown Hardware. I couldn’t have given it a better name had I tried. Sweet.
Finally we have a neighborhood store where the community will be able to purchase Valspar Paint, water heaters, welding rods, curtain rods, braided vinyl tubing, faucet protectors to winterize, grills, shrimp boil, and shower curtains. One whole aisle is dedicated to Glue! Yes! There are solutions for every type vermin or menace under the sun: mice, moles, gophers, spiders, crickets and flies, not to mention bed bugs. Shiver.
And finally, we have a neighborhood store where the community will meet and greet one another and inevitably talk about whatever project they are involved in that brought them to Hometown Hardware. On our first visit there last week, we ran into a friend we see at least weekly, Jim Schuyler looking for new bathroom fixtures, and as we were checking out with the very friendly clerk, Dave Kroupa, having found the part for the toilet we needed, we saw Sam Sweat (my ex-principal at Starr’s Mill HS) and his beautiful wife—which necessitated a 15-minute chat—lovely to catch up after ten or more years!
Welcome to Senoia, Hometown Hardware! Oh, and they have Case knives.