Trip to Berkeley, Hardware Store


For an artist the hardware store can be a favorite and mighty resource.  The artist’s hardware store is a place where one can go to get help finding stuff that will solve problems.  A good hardware store doesn’t distract from or break the flow of the creative process.

Shortly after we moved to this area, we tried out the BIG BOX hardware close by.  It was love-affair that never bloomed.  Never even budded.   Kinda withered.  Immediately.

Much disgruntled by the way he was treated in the BIG BOX, the Wild One was shown the way to a small community hardware store by his cabinet-shop foreman.  There he was waited on promptly and knowledgeably .  And he has never gone back to the BIG BOX.  This store has been in the neighborhood and run by the same family since 1946, so they must be doing something right.  A trip to this store is a treat for the eyes, and for the spirit.

Enough suspense, I am writing about the Ellis Ace Hardware store on Martin Luther King Way, near the Oakland/Berkeley border.

Ace Ellis Hardware store
Ellis Ace Hardware store, inside the door. Oola had her eye on the green vest.
Paul Eames and Barbara Eames
Paul Eames and Barbara Eames, owners

The contents of  the store are organized to a gnat’s eyebrow.  It is food for the eyes, and a model of efficiency.

Carolyn
Carolyn waited on Oola and me at Ace Ellis.

Knowledgeable and friendly workers like Carolyn can find anything promptly.  And that is especially amazing when you see how well packed in the merchandise is.

warehouse aisle
Everything must have a place, and be in the right place.

Paul told me that two more of his siblings own similar stores in the area.  He also told me that three local, community type stores have gone out of business in the area recently.  “Because of the Big Box Stores?” I asked.  “No”, he said.  The Big Box stores are actually good for his business.  They send customers to him.  “Many reasons”  he said.  “High and rising rent.”

Paul and Barbara run a tight ship.  The floor says it all, and there’s a kind of poetry in it.

wooden floor
A well worn floor

If you are in search of something to remind you of the way it used to be, or if you just want to “git’er done”:

Ellis Ace Hardware
5424 M. L. King, Jr. Way
Oakland CA 94509

Phone (510) 653-4365

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