Worcester hardware store open since 1782 closing its doors

WORCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) — For longtime workers and customers, the closing of Elwood Adams Hardware in Worcester isn’t just the end of one era in the city’s history. It’s the end of several.

“Today we’ve seen customers coming in that have been coming in for a long time leaving with tears in their eyes,” said assistant store manager Mark Lannon. “This is more a relationship business. It wasn’t just selling products. Actually we built a lot of relationships with the people in this city and the surrounding towns.”

The business has operated, under several owners, since 1782. Loyal customers say they can buy door knobs and hinges elsewhere, but they won’t be able to replace the bonds they’ve made with Elwood Adams’s staff on Maine Street.

“I just cringe at the thought of not being able to come down here,” said customer Jeff Archambo, a contractor who has been coming to the store since about 1980.

No customer is old enough to remember when Elwood Adams opened, since the store predates the U.S. Constitution, but some have been coming in for quite a while.

Lawyer Gary Peters, 70, has been coming to the store for 50 years. “Since I started using a hammer and screwdriver,” he laughed. Dressed in a suit, he joked that he obviously wasn’t a home repair expert, but he was always put at ease by the staff at Elwood, which includes Lannan and store manager Fran Neale.

Business has been lean in recent years. As more and more people buy hardware supplies online, it’s become harder for mom and pop shops to compete.

“Now there are very few left,” said customer Louis Desy. “Matter of fact, there are probably none left after this.”

The store is also closing because its longtime owner is planning to retire and no buyer has come forward to keep it running.

Elwood Adams is holding a liquidation sale at the end of the month. They plan to close for good some time in October.

Sad days for many in Worcester, but Lannon and his co-workers are going out with a smile.

“People have said, ‘Why have you stayed there so long?'” Lannon says. “It’s because I always love coming to work. I like coming in here everyday. I do.”

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