Best Hardware Store - 2005
Southside True Value Hardware
So, what's the longest you've waited for service at one of the big-box hardware stores? Fifteen minutes? Half an hour? An hour? Only to find that the "sales associate" doesn't know the difference between a croissant and crescent wrench? Step into Southside Hardware, and you'll be hard-pressed to wait fifteen seconds before a member of the Ripper family offers assistance. With industry experience spanning 40 years and three generations, you're pretty much guaranteed the Rippers (Steve, Ed, Bill, Sean and Allison) will know what you're looking for. "We know we can't compete with the box stores' prices, so we try to make it up on the customer-service side," says patriarch Steve Ripper. To wit: The store offers free delivery, niche services such as weed-eater and lawn-mower repair, and small-town perks like staying open late the day your toilet does its best Old Faithful impression and you call the store frantic for a replacement valve. Try asking the same favor of the megastores. Then explain to the clerk the difference between a toilet valve and a toilet brush.