It is an all encompassing feeling of warmth and memories. Time spent circled around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware -feeling the heat from the fire, warming up your hands and cold noses from the cold, outside air. The smell is distinctive- burning hardwood, and the lovely “smoky” smell it creates in the store. The wood stove is an iconic part of our legacy and our history. It has definitely kept that “Old School Hardware” feel in place for our customers and myself as a business owner.
The wood stove is definitely one of the most recognizable features within our store that people initially see once they walk in the front entrance. No matter what time of year it is, those who have never visited our store always ask about the wood stove. It is definitely an “Oldie Goldie “. Questions range from “Does it still work?” to “How old is it?”
Most people are surprised to find out the wood stove is WCH’s main source of heat in the winter! It cranks out a great deal of heat for the store. But if you wander into the far corners of the hardware store, you will sense the difference… it takes longer for the heat to travel there. Of course, the closer you are to the stove, you have to be very careful to make sure that you don’t put anything too close to the wood stove that would melt.. yes, chocolate 🍫 does not stand a chance around the stove!
Our wood stove is regularly cleaned, polished, and maintained in order to keep it in the best possible condition for daily use in the cooler weather.
We do keep a nice woodpile out behind the store so we can keep the “store fires” burning and our customers comfortable while they shop for essentials. We do have a few regular customers who purchase wood from us during cooler weather for fire pits/ s’mores, and camping fun. All of our wood is bought from local sources. Richard & I like to purchase products from our neighbors in our community.
The wood stove dates back to the early years of our building. Our building is over 💯 years old, dating back to 1907!!! The original stove was a coal stove and it was eventually converted into a wood burning stove. We have been told that the stove may date back to the 1920’s. This is one great thing about our store that I love… it is deeply rooted in local history.
What I also love about this stove is the power of community it holds for our town. People use it as a central gathering place to discuss daily news, and local events. Often our regular customers will come sit around the stove and just rock for a little bit before heading back out into the cold weather.
Yes, our wood stove/ store has become a great “stopping off point” for local downtown events in the winter where our customers can drop by to warm by the fire before a horse carriage ride, or just to wait and warm before for the Christmas parade is to begin.
To me, nothing is better in the cold, and snowy day to be warming around the wood stove. Many of our customers know we will be open and we will have the fire roaring. Many locals seek to visit with us on these days. Honestly, these are my favorite days.. the snow days around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware.
We have had a few local media broadcast/advertising folks to showcase our store via the wood stove as a centerpiece. I guess it is just that “Old School ” way of gathering around and slowing down in the busy world we live in today. Even in 2018, people are doing the “Old School ” way of going back to our roots/heritage— community building.
I’m glad we can be a small part of building a great community here at Wilkes County Hardware, wood stove or no stove… we are all in for the “Old School” Hardware life.