In a world full of big box stores and unrelenting development, Beaumont Hardware has been a neighborhood business district anchor, at the corner of Northeast 43rd and Fremont in Beaumont Village, since 1948. The original store was located approximately a half block west, where Pizzicato stands today. It moved to its current location in 1957 and initially shared the building with a dentist’s office and a television repair shop.
Portland native Tony Zeller, of the Zeller’s Funeral Home family, bought the business – and the building – eleven years ago this June. He says the business is thriving and will continue to provide neighbors with the expert advice, tools and parts that they’ve come to rely on to keep their older Portland homes in good repair.
“I do own the building, so nobody can kick me out of here,” said Zeller. “There may come a day when this store isn’t the highest or the best use for the property – which would be sad – but I’m not going anywhere. This hardware store is one of the highest-performing stores per-square-footage that Do it Best works with. Out of the 4000 stores they serve, ours was seventh in square-foot sales last year and we’ve been as high as fourth.”
The store continues to grow and improve – recently upgrading its paint department with a computer color-matching system and updating its key-cutting machine for chip keys – but Zeller counts on the store’s reputation for excellent service to keep customers coming in. Even when customers don’t know what they’re looking for among the more than 20,000 items in the store, Zeller’s team is skilled at interpreting explanations, rough descriptions and sketches. Zeller says a smartphone picture is often the easiest way to quickly communicate what you need.
“Our goal is to ask everyone who walks through the door if they want help,” Zeller said. “When somebody comes in here for three screws or three nuts, they can do that. You can’t do that at Home Depot. That’s really important to me. If you want to buy four deck screws, you can buy four deck screws. You don’t have to buy a pound of deck screws. People don’t want to stockpile that kind of stuff and I don’t blame them.”
Zeller says he owes the success of his small store to the loyalty of his neighbors and local customers.
“The loyalty of this neighborhood and the mix of this neighborhood is just great,” said Zeller. “They’re local and they like local and they support local. They want to support small businesses. A lot of our customers live within biking distance or come down to get bark dust with the wagon and the kids. It’s just really just cool.”
Zeller’s affection for his neighbors is a two-way street.
“They’re great,” said Beaumont Wilshire neighbor Karla Lenos, “Several years ago, the pull cord on my small rototiller snapped and put a big hole in the gas tank. I called Beaumont about getting a new one, but ended up ordering online. When it came, it was only the tank and not the other parts. I took both the new and old parts into the store for help and the guy offered to fish the parts out of the old one and re-install them in the new one. He did it in about 15 minutes. When I asked how much for the job, he said ‘no charge.’ Beaumont Hardware is such a great resource for people who want to do their own thing, but need some help.”
“When we moved here in 2011, Beaumont Hardware became a daily stop for me as we went through a room-by-room renovation,” said Alameda neighbor David Johansen. “I always found the hardware crew resourceful and friendly. One of their employees repaired an old built-in drawer front for me perfectly, in his off hours. I also got a referral for a great, local plumber, who we have used several times. They are always my first stop when I need a hardware or household item.”
“I’ve been shopping there for over 25 years,” said Grant Park neighbor Raye Lindsay. “They’re always very friendly and helpful and they have the greatest flowers. They’re very reasonably priced. They’re a neighborhood hardware store that has everything you need. Why go to the big box stores when you can get that kind of service right at home?”
“It amazes me that they always have what I need in inventory,” said Beaumont neighbor Laura Hancock. “I can’t even count the number of times I’ve run over there mid-project to grab something random that I need. Not only will they have it, but they’ll explain to me how to properly use or install it. My whole family loves this shop.”
“I love Beaumont Hardware,” said Grant Park neighbor Curt Schulz. “Typically, I’ll go in with a small project and everyone there is helpful. They don’t make me feel like a dope. They know exactly what I’m talking about and they have precisely what I need. Sometimes I get out of there for pocket change. I am regularly dumbfounded at how much they carry in a small footprint store and at how knowledgeable the crew is. They are the epitome of the awesome cornerstone neighborhood business.”
Over the year’s Zeller’s store has found many ways to give back to the community. This year for Fremont Fest, they’ll sponsor a booth in front of their store for the Neighborhood Emergency Team, who will provide information on how households can prepare for a citywide or regional emergency, such as a severe winter storm, a flood or a major earthquake.
“We know how important our community is to us and we also know how important community is when disaster strikes,” said Briony Roberts, Beaumont Hardware’s office assistant. “We wanted to help, so we put together a packet of information to support our neighbors in being prepared should an emergency or disaster strike. We compiled a list of recommended items to have and tried to make it as easy as possible to get them. Most of the items can be ordered in our store or from our website. When the order comes in, you’ll be contacted and you can pick it up. We’ve also included lists for babies and for pets.”
For more information about Beaumont Hardware, or to browse the store’s online catalogue of more that 60,000 items that you can have delivered to the store with no shipping charges, visit www.beaumontdoitbest.com.