Category Archives: Hardware Store Life

Wood Stove

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 ๐Ÿซ 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 ๐Ÿ’ฏ 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.

The Chicken Hat

Earlier this week Richard told me that we had a visit from a local hardware store owner, out of our county. As Richard put it, he wanted to see that Chicken hat that everyone was talking about. Wow! I was blown away!!!

Working towards a great logo can be daunting for a new business. A great logo is one of the biggest marketing tools that can connect your customers to your store/brand.

As new business owners, we did get some great advice from fellow business owners to be very purposeful when selecting colors and a logo to connect to our customers and our store. We have tried to heed this great advice, and have used our great neighbors down the street, Cook’s Inc to help us through the process.

Over the last few years, we have really stuck with a classic gray color for a branding color. Why??? Many reasons actually—-our store has concrete floors, which has served many purposes in our building- chicken processing plant, & as a hardware store. I think that the gray is a great compliment to that old rustic hardware store feel as well, so the color is ours to stay.

Back to the chicken hat… The story of the Chicken Hat is a journey of logo selection over the last few years. We have been working diligently with our neighbors down the street- Cook’s Inc, to select a great logo for a baseball cap ๐Ÿงข. Our initial designs were very simple with the gray cap and a patch logo with our store name.

Brooke, who works for Cook’s, always challenges me to keep taking our logo to the next level. So as we were meeting one afternoon, we came up with a new design… a chicken, with red, white, blue flag inside it. The hat is of course that dark classic gray… (our best seller)

How did we arrive at this? We were trying to connect our logo hat to our store history. In the end, Richard and I have been super pleased with this new hat. I think we have achieved success with this new logo hat.

As I write this, we have chicken hats that have traveled all over the United States, and Australia. Even our local state legislator wears his to Raleigh and has gotten several great compliments on his hat. Of course, I keep telling him— tell the story about your hat… Our legacy of our store can be told and shared.

Here is our story…

Our building dates back to the early 1900’s. The building was used as a poultry processing plant for turkeys, chickens, etc. These animals were literally herded down the mountain and pushed into our store and processed. They were then loaded up on the railroad, which is just down the street and taken out of town. High estimates are close to 1 million chickens & turkeys were processed in our building in a years time at the height of production.

Maybe it is sometimes the story that helps you brand yourself, maybe it is the story that folks will remember… it could be a little bit of both.

I’m not sure if our neighbor hardware store really found what he needed the other day…. what the deal is with that chicken hat, but we sure love it here at Wilkes County Hardware. I hope his curiosity was satisfied.


Our lives changed dramatically 15 years ago. Our son came into the world ๐ŸŒŽ and Richard & I were transformed into parents overnight. We haven’t looked back ever since, his presence in our lives has been our greatest blessing.

As he begins another year, I am amazed to see how much change has occurred in the last few years… I am also drawn to reflect on how on earth did we get here??? Seriously, time does fly by!!!

The physical changes are ongoing. This young man is now his mom’s height… and truth be told, he will probably surpass me and head towards 6 feet sooner than later ๐Ÿ˜ณ. Those of you with teenage boys know how much food they inhale.., and of course we have gone through at least three buying sprees of clothing so far this year— in order to keep up with the growth process.

I can still remember the sweet little guy who sat on the bench out front of the hardware store and smiled for a first photo. Fast forward to Summer 2018, he made keys ๐Ÿ”‘ with Wayne, helped customers in the store, and even helped his dad get some of the local neighborhood pools open for the season.

I am sure that more changes will come for our big 15 year old in the next year, and we will continue to face them as a family. We love you dearly big guy!!! ๐Ÿ’•

Family is central to our everything isn’t it? Come to think of it… This is very similar to how we approach our business ownership, we make decisions as co-owners, working together for a common goal- serving our local community. The essence of #thehardwarelife ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Birthday!!! ๐ŸŽ‚