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The new Gelzer's has space to store an additional 10,000 items. Jack Little | Collegian
The new Gelzer’s has space to store an addi­tional 10,000 items. Jack Little | Collegian

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.”