Bernhardt Hardware buildings for sale

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Bernhardt Hardware remains open three weeks after Paul Bernhardt’s death, and daughter Eva Bingham said she hasn’t decided what to do with the downtown landmark.
“We’re just thinking about how to proceed in the future,” Bingham said. “We haven’t made any decisions.”
All three buildings that contain Bernhardt Hardware at 113 N. Main St. are for sale.
The hardware store will stay open at least through plant season, manager R.C. Kesler said. He has cut hours to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
While Kesler said he will not order any new merchandise, the store will stock tomato plants, flowers and other garden materials.
Davis Cooke, who lives and works downtown, said he shops at Bernhardt Hardware for the convenience and personal service.
The store always stocked odds and ends customers couldn’t find anywhere else, Cooke said. After anchoring the 100 block of North Main Street for many years, the hardware store would leave a “big hole” if it closes, he said.
“The personal service that you get with a store like that, you are not going to get at a big box store,” he said.
Vickie Smith said she shops at Bernhardt’s for plants, kitchen items and paint, as well as having keys made.
“It’s so nice to have a place where they know you,” she said.
If the store has to close, Smith said she would be disappointed.
“It was a more personal experience than shopping at a place like Lowe’s or Home Depot,” she said.
Bernhardt started in hardware in 1946 at Greer Hardware, where his father, Leake, had been manager since its opening in 1928. Paul became assistant manager.
Greer liquidated its store in 1961, and Bernhardt Hardware took its place.
“This is a hard decision,” Bingham said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.