Dating back to 1879, the Elmira Home Hardware store has seen a few economic downturns prior to the current recession, but managed to weather them all in order to celebrate its 130th anniversary beginning next week.
Started by the Weichel family in 1879, the store has seen several owners in the ensuing years. Originally located at 9 Arthur St. S. where the Busy Bee Quilts store stands today, the business was called M Weichel and Sons and sold a wide range of products, from cloth to kerosene, cookware to candy. The current Church Street location was built in 1974 by Tom Hendricks, where it has seen a few changes of ownership and of content, now selling primarily hardware. The business was later moved and sold to John and Margaret Pettie who owned it for the following 25 years. Krista McBay, the store’s current proprietor, took over ownership five years ago. Since her start at the store, McBay has made sure the operation is continually engaged within the community. It’s one of the major sponsors of the Elmira Sugar Kings, as well as supporting other minor sports teams in the area and the Waterloo Women’s Crisis Services. The staff of Home Hardware also visits Big Brothers Big Sisters sponsored Camp McGovern every spring to refurbish and tune up their bicycles.
To mark its 130 years, the hardware store will be offering up specials Sept. 16-26, including free balloons for the kids and prize draws. On Thursday at 10 a.m., a plaque presentation will be made by a representative from the head office. On Sept. 19, McBay will be serving up a free BBQ between 11a.m and 2 p.m., with food donated by local grocery stores.
“We are still going strong after 130 years of business” said McBay, “and we have at least another 130 yet to go.”