Kannapolis hardware store set to close after decades of business

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

KANNAPOLIS — A hardware store dating back to 1957 is closing its doors in October.

Lynn Mcallister, 65, took over her father’s business in 1993 and has run Bill Davis Supply Co. at 1905 N. Main St. ever since. She had it incorporated but doesn’t know the exact date when the store was established since there is no official record available before 1957.

The store is compact but offers a wide variety of construction supplies from signs to wooden dowels and tools. An industrial fan is at the entrance to the back to cool off the place in the summer and a wood stove is inside to warm it during the winter. A time capsule captures decades of business operations as four generations within the family worked at the business.

“It’s been here since I was born,” Mcallister said. “I was raised here and so were my kids. I taught them how to count back change behind this register. If someone wanted to buy something, I told them to ‘go pay her’ (daughter Anna Baldwin).”

Baldwin, who works as an EMT, said she and her twin sister, Wendy Mcallister, had a playroom in the back of the shop that still has a bed in it these days. Children are still welcome to come and play when visiting the hardware store, as Lynn Mcallister has a tub full of Play-Doh, coloring books, crayons and stickers waiting for them. Frequent customers, or as the owner likes to call them — “old-timers”—  often bring their children and grandchildren to the shop. Years ago, Lynn Mcallister recalled when every Wednesday was reserved for lunch with community friends who would come into the store.

Roger Kerley, who brings his great-granddaughter Karliah Gulledge in for tutoring lessons with Wendy Mcallister on Wednesdays, described Lynn Mcallister as a “babysitter and psychiatrist” in addition to her hardware work. He, too, has watched the store grow over the years, as his dad would bring him in when buying roofing shingles, lumber and nails.

“I’ll bring her in here with me and by the time we leave, she’s black from head to toe with dirt,” he said. “I get all my supplies here. If I need a drill bit or something they don’t have, she’ll (Lynn Mcallister) order specifically for me.”

According to customers, the owner’s knowledge of hardware is so extensive that she can take one look at a nickel bolt and say what size it is or refer them to a recommended size. Since the announcement of the closing, business has picked up, according to the Mcallister family.  Lynn Mcallister said she was down to making only $20 a day, but now the bolt room, located in the back right of the store, is back to being a popular stop for customers.

“I’ve never seen this many customers in the store,” Baldwin said as she watched her mother attending to each customer coming through the doors. “We welcome everybody.”

Two items remain in the store that Baldwin requested her mother save: the cash register that has been used since the opening of the store and a bench that has been a seat for her and her twin sister since they were kids. Lynn Mcallister called it the “time-out bench.”

Everything else must go, so an auctioneer is set to survey the stock of the shop before contracting services to sell the inventory after the business closes Oct 3.

The owner made her decision after her husband was diagnosed with cancer. While receiving his first rounds of chemotherapy, Lynn Mcallister realized it was time to focus on him since he is awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

“This place is my family and home,” she said. “It’s a knife in my heart to close but I have to keep looking forward, not back. Family comes first.”

Bill Davis Supply Company is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.