Dear PoP – Support Your Local Hardware Stores


“Dear PoP

You’ve posted on local hardware stores in general and Pfeiffer’s Hardware in Mt Pleasant in particular. So I thought you might be interested in this below (from the Mt Pleasant Forum).

I shop there all the time – a world apart from the hell that is Home Depot. I hope others will show their support and spend their money at Pfeiffers (and other local businesses).

Dear Mt. Pleasant Friends and Neighbors,

Times are tight for all of us, and I wanted to let you know how Pfeiffer’s is coping.

First, we are doing everything we can to give you good reason to buy from us. We have been doing that since we opened, but we have redoubled our efforts of late. Our new manager, William Hester, has been a phenomenal help and has so much more experience managing people and stuff than I ever had. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself at your leisure.

Our new assistant manager, Kyla Dickson, who was promoted from clerk, has also been tremendously helpful with her instinctive ability to get things done and to manage inventory. And then there are the usual suspects: John, Josh, Richard, Roberto, Rodney and Wing. All are there to help you find what you need, or to give you their opinion on the health care debate. Our previous manager Megan Crowley, left at the end of June to pursue her dream of opening her antique tavern in West Virginia.

I am also writing to ask for your continued support. The economy is hurting most of us, I’m sure, but the fact is, without an increase in sales, our store may become yet another empty storefront on Mt. Pleasant Street. No one wants that. So, if you need a widget or a doohickey, please remember us and the value of convenience and connection and helpfulness and friendliness that we bring to your shopping at our store.

Many other businesses on Mt. Pleasant Street are struggling. If you don’t want to see them close their doors, please remember to shop locally when you can.

Thank you for your support in the past and whatever support you can afford in the future.

I will be at the store this Sunday through Wednesday and will be available for conversation at Marx Cafe in the evenings from at least 4-6pm Sunday through Tuesday. If any of you would like to chat about the store, our current situation, suggestions, possible contractors to woo, or just to chat about all things Mount Pleasant or the Pfeiffer clan, please stop by. If you would rather meet one on one, please email me at [email address removed – log in to view].

In my next posting, I will give you an update on the possible sale of the store, some new policies, our new items, and the restructuring of our rental department.

Hugs and Hardware,

Old Man Pfeiffer”

Tina visited this great hardware store back in June of 2008. And last March I wondered if local hardware stores are doomed? It saddens me to hear about Pfeiffer’s tough times. They truly are a gem in Mt. Pleasant.

35 Comment

  • Pfeiffer’s is a truly fantastic store. Every time I’ve needed something, no matter how random, I’ve found it there. I really hope they make it … here is their website, and I see they also have a Facebook page:

    Maybe they could market themselves a little to all the new residents coming in at Highland Park and Allegro …

  • I’m in the Allegro and found them by accident when they were closed, but I did go back to get some lug bolts to hang my TV. I had tried Target but they didn’t have anything big enough. They should call the leasing office, we get a welcome package when we move in with, among other things, local restaurants and the WSC. I’m sure they would include a flier from these guys.

  • Thanks for posting this story – Pfeiffers is a gem and I shop there rather than the big box places. Staff at Pfeiffers are knowledgeable and the store is a real asset to the community.

  • POP: Thanks for doing a second piece on Pfeiffers on keeping them in our minds.

    Yes, we are seeing the good old fashioned hardware store making a comeback in the District…Cooper Hardware on 14th Street, Glover Park Hardware, Logan Hardware (Note: Ace is a Co-operative company), Frager’s Hardware (long standing establishment on Capitol Hill), Brookland True Value Hardware, and a new hardware store at 5th Street Ace Hardware. We see examples in each neighborhood, and that is a good thing.

  • I love Pfeiffers. I live a block from Coopers, but sadly can’t include it in the category of hardware stores making a comeback. Each time I’ve been there since they re-opened, the stock has been slimmer and slimmer, such that I usually end up going over to Pfeiffers anyway, where I always find what I need and some friendly conversation to boot. I wonder what’s up with Coop?

  • Home Depot and Lowe’s will never be able to beat the small, neighborhood hardware stores when it comes to convenience. Pfeiffer’s has been a life saver for me on more than one occasion. They’re terrific.

  • I hope someone who knows Pfeiffer’s employees calls this post to their attention. Part of the issue really is marketing. Lots of potential customers probably don’t even know that Pfeiffer’s exists. Doing a little low-cost web advertising, and distributing information (maybe even a coupon for new residents) to the apartment complexes mentioned above (Park Triangle is another one that I imagine might have a fair amount of turnover and which, I believe, provides packages for new residents, try touching base with Holly, the manager over there). I feel like most of the small businesses around here do very little to market themselves. Pfeiffer’s provides great product and great customer service, they should let the community know that!

  • Don’t forget the Ace Hardware at Tenleytown (hidden in the bottom of the same building as Best Buy). Too bad they couldn’t save Candy’s on 18th Street.

  • I need new key copies made. I’ll be going there to contribute my $5.

  • i believe that some of the responsibility falls on the the owners. it was unrealistic for them to assume that hardware stores are recession proof. i think the coupons are a great idea and maybe a neighbor hood survey about what is need or wanted. there must be a list of small contractors who could be reached out to. another idea may be “do it your self ” classes taught by the staff or contractors for price discounts. they could be taught on the weekend or after hours. maybe in the back of the store or in the parking area behind the store. from thinks as simple as hanging a picture so it doesnt come crashing down in the middle of the night.,to paint prep and painting, and small building projects ,simple tiolet repair ect… a reasonable fee could be chargred and it might inssure those customers coming back for their future ahrd ware supplies. good luck

  • Anon has a good idea. The hardware store should team up with a local, professional contractor who does small to medium size projects (bathroom rehabs, etc). The contractor could teach little “do-it yourself” neighborhood classes somewhere around the store. The contractor can then give business cards to the many “can’t really do it ourselfers but we like to try and screw things up even more.” Contractor will get business, will buy supplies from hardware store, etc.

    I’m sure this is actually a lot harder to organize then I make it sound, but I think getting the community to rally around local stores requires the stores to remind us why we need community stores in the first place. Show people the benefits before you close and they realize that they missed out on a good thing. Even though Target may be cheaper, if I am getting some benefit from the local community store, I won’t mind spending an extra few bucks to make sure they stick around.

  • I’ll bike up there today after work and pick up some lightbulbs, hvac filters, and cleaning supplies.

  • I love the idea of classes. Strosniders, another locally-owned hardward store, is near my office. They have classes there on topics like picking paint colors, or getting your lawn ready for the summer, and they are packed. Strosniders has three big stores and thus much more $$$ to play around with, but I think the concept could work on a smaller scale. I think Anon 11:23’s point that we need reminding us why we need community stores in the first place is a very good one.

  • I cannot blame the Pfeiffers people for anything except selection, but these are good and creative suggestions for how to increase business.

    I have long felt they needed to send out messages like: “Finish your project tonight with an extra paintbrush from Pfeiffers!”

  • many rental apts team with drycleaners, gyms ect as part of a maketing strategy. when they sign there lease they get a discount card for various neighborhood businesses. the individual stores offer various discounts and incentives to those renters. it doesnt have to be a large amount of money but it gets them in store. then its up to the proprietor to keep them coming back.

  • Pfieffer’s Rules!

  • The thought of Home Depot and the hugeness of it all and so many options terrifies me. Do I really need 25 different types of duct tape? Pfeiffers is refreshing! And the salespeople have been very friendly.

  • I don’t think it is competition with Home Depot that is hurting small hardware stores in this recession, but merely customers spending less money everywhere. Personally I haven’t been to a Home Depot in years. But I have been shopping at Logan Hardware because I didn’t know there was an option closer (other than Cooper’s which I’ve tried out but ended up back at Logan).

    I’m not sure about classes–I’ll assume they don’t have room to teach a group, and most small hardware stores are happy to teach any customer anything they ask about anyways. But contacting local apartment and condo management companies is a great idea.

    I’ll throw in my own suggestion of mailing out fliers. I get fliers all the time from local pizzerias and chicken places. Why not leave some doorknob hangings with your store hours, location, bus route availability, and maybe a coupon for $5 off your purchase of $20 or more? Pay some kids this summer to leave them on neighborhood doors, or pay a few bucks to buy a mailing list.

  • [email protected]:17, are you then going to pay the same kids to pick those damned fliers up the following week, once they’re shredded and soggy? It has to be mail or nothing. I actively avoid businesses that litter up my street with their advertising.

  • WDC–take your negativity elsewhere, please. This site has too many people who complain about everything and everyone.

  • I went there this weekend, they did not have any super glue! But I LOVE Frager’s on the Hill. I will go out of my way to go there, especially for paint.

  • Pfeiffer’s is fantastic. If they don’t have what you need, they’ll order it. If you don’t know how to use it, they’ll teach you.
    I’ve stopped by for advice on anything household related and they have always been nice and helpful.

  • Nope. I am a recognizable contributing member of this community, both the real-life one and the PoP one. My negative reaction on certain issues (such as littering) is my right. You, anonymous at 2:24, have no such right. Not that I acknowledge, anyway. Either wo/man up and create a regular user name for yourself, or, as you say, take it elsewhere.

  • Is this the same Pfeiffer’s I go to? When they first opened, they were really great. But my experience is that half the off-brand lightbulbs they sell don’t work, one of the floor clerks is really aggressive and maybe retarded, and the store closes as soon as I get off work. I’ve moved my business to the Tenley and Glover Park Hardware stores and am pleased as punch with them.

    If Pfeiffers actually carried quality products, and had halfway knowledgeable staff, I may return. I would return especially if they offered some kind of classes somewhere on Mt. P street. How about topics like: drywall patching, basic tiling, faucet replacement, hipster DIY projects… little things like that?

  • What’s up with that hardware store just south of Petworth Metro? Is it worth ever visiting for nuts and bolts and tape and such? Or another money laundering front?

  • This winter, I got my key stuck in my apartment door and was unable to get it out, thus locking myself out of my house. I walked over to Pfeiffer’s to see if they could call a locksmith for me (my cell phone was dead and I was kind of freaking out). Instead, they offered to let me borrow a pair of pliers so I could pull the key out. It worked and saved me a lot of time and money. Only a neighborhood store would do something like that for its customers. I really hope Pfeiffer’s makes it.

  • A good reminder to shop your local hardware (etc) store least they disappear leaving us with Home Despot and their ilk.

    Although they don’t have everything under the sun, they’re happy order what you need at no extra cost w/delivery in just two days.

    Think global, shop local!

  • Do they do propane tank exchange? I hate driving over to NE just to get some propane for the grill. Why don’t any grocery stores or hardware stores over here do this? There has to be a market for it. It seems like such a widely needed commodity.

  • Anon 4:36, I was wondering the same thing about that hardware store south of the Ga. Ave Metro. It never seems to be open.

  • I like Pfeiffers and go there often. I was slightly annoyed the other week when I went in to purchase something. Normally their customer service is excellent. But this time when I went in, there was only one person in the store, and he was standing behind the counter having a 10-minute conversation about nothing in particular with a friend of his, and it was pretty obvious that I had a question. I had to interrupt them and ask for assistance. Seems like I shouldn’t have had to do that. I was clearly standing there, waiting to ask a question. Anyways, in times like this, customer service matters!

  • i love this store. i’m new to the neighborhood, and have been making an effort to shop at pfeiffers and other local stores in lieu of target and bb&b whenever possible, even though my hardware needs are pretty minimal. the staff has been extremely helpful and friendly every time i’ve been in there (usually on sunday morning before or after my visit to heller’s!)

  • Anon @ 11:01… Eek! I think that mighta been us. The clerk was telling my husband a rather long and involved story (after we’d paid for our purchases), and I too thought it was odd that he didn’t break it off to help the lady who was obviously looking for an answer. Friendly guy, that clerk, but maybe needs to multi-task a little better!

  • anon 11:01 why did you not say excuse me please i could use some help?

  • 7:36- don’t mean to be rude, but the clerks are paid to not-need-to-be-asked. It’s not like you’re at a party chatting with friends.

  • the clerks are great…at peiffers and engaging with customers is a reason why…what is the big deal if you have to say excuse me or speak up once ina while. my guess is they would have apologized and been their very helpful selves. i am so tired of the me me me junk in this city give your fellow humans a break and enjoy yourself tease about it, have some fun, or speak up!

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