There’s something about the creak of a wooden floor, warped from supporting decades of hardware on shelves and customers stalking that one, particular item. Independent hardware stores like this are harder to find these days, but if you use the same patience needed to exactly match a fastener, you can still find them in Minnesota. These are a few of our favorites.
Like a traditional small-town hardware store needs to be, Buck’s is a little bit of everything: Sporting goods, fishing tips, gas for boats and cars, and of course, hardware. This is exactly the kind of store that a town of fewer than 1,500 residents which sees thousands of visitors every year needs. A place with a little bit of something for everyone.
Although it’s changed locations once and ownership a few times, Hudson Hardware has kept the Standish and Erickson neighborhoods in nuts, bolts, and sundries since 1945. This is the kind of neighborhood hardware store where you can get knives sharpened, a screen cut to fit, and a lollipop at the counter.
Kingsley’s had us at “mercantile.” Located so close to the environs of “Little House on the Prairie,” what else could a hardware store that sells everything from dry goods to dryers call itself? Walking in to Kingsley Mercantile is like walking into a hardware store dream scape.
Johnson Hardware, located across from a WalMart Supercenter, separates itself from the rest of the pack through its superb service and top-notch selection. The big guys simply don’t have the depth of knowledge that Johson’s does. You’ll always get the best here.
When you’re in the North Woods, on the Canadian border, you need to be well-stocked to keep the local builders, tinkerers, and DIYers happy. Northern Lumber & Hardware does just that. Not only are they a full-service lumberyard, they’ve also got that bolt that you need to fix the 20-year-old basketball backboard in your driveway.
This is a hardware store’s hardware store: “A handyman’s candyland” as the owner called it. Decades of new, used, and overstock equipment overwhelm three floors of retail space. It may take some patience and some picking skills to find what you’re looking for, but chances are, it’ll be at Central Sales.
This beloved neighborhood hardware store is small and packed to the gills, but that’s exactly what a neighborhood hardware store should be. The folks who live near Bryant Hardware love the service and the store’s deep (if tightly packed) selection of merchandise. It’s “the biggest little hardware store in Minneapolis.”
Fountain is basically the head of the Root River State Trail, so this tiny town gets a whole lot of visitors every year. A lot of them have cars, bikes, tents, and other things that need the occasional futzy, little—or not so little—part. Fountain Building Center is a good bet as the place to find it.
Guse Hardware is a product of a neighborhood that cares for local businesses. Apart from gas stations, there’s not a chain retailer within blocks of Guse. Plus it’s in one of those gorgeous storefronts that evoke the smalltown hardware store that we all aspire toward visiting when looking for an adhesive or drillbit.