100 year old hardware store closing - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Century-old Sledge Hardware store closing in Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

     Sledge Hardware has been a staple in downtown Greensboro for a century.  Anne-Sledge Bailey and her husband, whose name is Whitelaw Bailey, are packing it up and calling it quits.  Mrs. Bailey's great uncle first opened the business around 1910.  "When times were hard, he moved over into this building because it was a little smaller."

     Sledge Hardware grew into a household name in Hale County.  Since its beginning, the store has sold most everything needed to fix problem in house...from pipes to fixtures.  Mr. Bailey says, "Most of the people who came through the door you knew them and knew more or less where they lived."

     Bailey is talking about customers like James Thomas.  He's been shopping at Sledge Hardware for about 45 years.  He learned Wednesday while ABC 33/40 was there that the store is going out of business. "Ah, man this is going to be a different world. I don't believe it -- really I don't," he laughed in disbelief.

     The Baileys have run the hardware store themselves since 1991.  It's been passed down from relatives over the years.  Mr Bailey runs the sales floor while Mrs Bailey does the accounting in an upstairs lodge in the back of the building.  She recalls when they took over that she had just had brain surgery.  She says "It was ideal for us because whitelaw was so good at hardware things."

     The couple says they're getting older and simply looking for a new adventure. "Quite a few [people] have come by and said - I didn't believe you'd ever do this or whatever and I say well time has passed and I don't want to do it anymore I'm just going to move forward."

      Sledge customers such as Thomas say they don't have a Lowe's or Home Depot nearby -- so this place has been quite convenient.  "If I'm staying two or three blocks away from here I can walk and get my parts and everything."

      The store's last day open is June 1, 2013.   Until then, all merchandise in the store is being sold at half price.

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