The city of Newark Delaware suffered the passing of a long time friend in September.
The last local hardware store in Newark officially closed early in September. I had personally been using this hardware store since 1997. The owner was friendly. The staff was friendly. They recognized my entire family. They had those old school bins that you could pick through and find the exact screw you needed. There was always a helpful staff person there.
Not anymore. The collective residents of this town killed the last local hardware store. The town should be arrested for murder.
When I emailed the owner Rocky he was very appreciative off the kind and sad words I had when I realized the departure. I had not needed to build things or fix things for a few weeks so the store closed in the 3 weeks I had not visited. His response was predictable.
The store was able to survive through the building of a Lowes about 4 miles away. Then a year or so later a Home Depot about 2 miles away. The traffic to the little hardware store had dipped after these two stores. Yet the little hardware store continued to experiment with hours and was able to adapt to this new environment, unfortunately minus the comfort it may have experienced in the past.
This lack of any comfort level is what sank the store once the giant Elkton Road project began. The hardship of this construction to the local car driving community had the drivers steering away from the store. This was just enough to push the little hardware store over the cliff to the abyss.
We should all be ashamed. Now we are forced to not only shop at home depot for even little items, but we’ve lost a place to get screens fixed, knives sharpened, etc. We have lost the store that knew who you were when you walked in. Yes there are other places, but those other places are 10 plus mile drives.
What does this have to-do with biking you ask?
What good does it do to bike for transportation if all the useful local stores that are easy and fun to bike to close up? There is no place in Newark Delaware where you can buy a bolt that is easy to bike to.
Support your local stores. Avoid big box stores when at all possible. Avoid the giant chain restaurants when possible. Support your local community to keep it stronger. Our choices as shoppers to go-to the big box stores have ended up hurting the lively hood of our neighbor Rocky and all the employees that used to greet you with a smile and the kind words of “Can I help you”. Please don’t let it happen again.