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Nostalgic customers say goodbye to Corderman's Hardware

June 20, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Chick Reiter, left, shakes hands with owner Paul Corderman on the last day of business at Corderman's Hardware on West Washington Street in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The pegboards lining the aisles of Corderman’s Hardware were nearly bare in places Monday, but that didn’t stop nostalgic customers from stopping by for one last visit on the longtime West End store’s final day.

“We’ve had quite a few people in,” owner Paul Corderman said, as the hours ticked closer to the 5 p.m. closure.

Corderman, whose grandfather opened the West Washington Street hardware store in the 1940s, announced in April that he had decided to close the store because of lagging sales and for health reasons.

Several months of discounted prices were successful in selling off most of the store’s stock, and Corderman set Monday as the final day based on the low level of remaining inventory.

“There comes a time when you say, ‘enough’s enough,’” he said.

Several customers browsing the remaining items Monday morning said they were not looking for anything specific, but wanted to stop in one last time before the store closed.

“I used to come here all the time,” said John Spigler, who lives outside Cearfoss. “If you couldn’t find it anywhere else, they had it here.”

Ken Rohrer of Sharpsburg said he shopped at Corderman’s frequently when he worked for a small electrical contractor in Hagerstown. Many homes in Hagerstown had older fixtures, and Corderman’s stocked the hard-to-find parts they needed, Rohrer said.

Rohrer said he was always impressed by the technical know-how of Corderman’s employees.

“Most of them came from blue-collar backgrounds and they knew what it would take to get the job done,” Rohrer said. “That’s what impressed me more than anything.”

He said it had been more than 20 years since he shopped regularly at Corderman’s, but little had changed when he stopped in Monday.

“You know, I think time pretty much stood still in there,” Rohrer said.

Working the register Monday morning, employee Elwood Teach pointed out a stack of business cards for Sunnycrest Farm Store near Smithsburg. Teach, who did window and screen repair at Corderman’s, said he had been asked to work for Sunnycrest, but had not made up his mind.

Teach said he had worked at Corderman’s for more than 14 years.

For Paul Corderman, who began working in the store on weekends as a teenager, the closure brought a mixture of sadness and relief.

“I’m certainly going to miss the people, but I think it’s time,” he said.

A neighbor was preparing a picnic for the Corderman’s crew to commemorate the closing Monday evening, he said.

Corderman said he expected to have an auction for the remaining items, but had not set a date or location.

“We’re gonna take a little time off, and try to get organized and catch our breath, I guess,” he said.

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