Gelzer’s Hardware opened in its new location at 115 Carleton Road on Oct. 18, leaving its former location on North Howell Street in downtown Hillsdale.
Gelzer’s Hardware has been a presence on North Howell Street since 1923. The new location, located in the same plaza as Dollar General, brings nearly 2,000 additional square feet of space.
The additional floor space will allow the store to stock an additional 10,000 items, double what it used to offer, according to manager Drew Gelzer. The space allows the store to “merchandise with intent,” Gelzer said, which involves using displays for each brand and type of tool. The old location “made growth difficult,” he said.
Hillsdale resident and regular Gelzer’s customer Ryan Servold said he’s excited about the new location and increased inventory.
“I’ve always loved the random, useful items I can find in Gelzer’s. Now I know I’ll be able to find even more tools and parts I need.”
Francis Lucchetti, a Hillsdale College senior who works part time as a handyman, said he enjoys the new store.
“The new store is great,” Lucchetti said. “Things are much easier to find and it’s got all kinds of new tools and equipment.”
Another reason for moving locations, according to Gelzer, is the impracticality of a downtown store.
“The street was made a one-way in the 1990s, and parking downtown was already difficult enough,” Gelzer said.
Gelzer’s doesn’t expect to move again any time soon. The family-run business was founded in “1918 or 1920, which is a big debate in the family,” and has “hermit-crabbed between five locations since then,” Gelzer said.
Recent fears of a labor shortage do not faze Gelzer, who pointed to the experience of the employees and family members as key to the success of the business.
“On any given day, we probably have a combined 150 years of experience in hardware in this store,” he said.“That may be less on the weekends, but that’s how it is.”
Despite logistical supply chain failures that have driven up shipping times and led to product shortages, Gelzer’s is fairing well.
“We’re founding members of Do It Best, the largest member-owned co-op for local hardware stores in the country, which lets us be sure that we’re able to get what we need,” Gelzer said.
“We’ve been able to stock about 80% of our normal capacity, which is good given what’s been going on”.
Gelzer reiterated the community as the reason for the store’s success, saying “The line is always ‘Shop local’, but here, it’s real.”