weather icon Mostly Clear

Local hardware stores beat big boxes

With Small Business Saturday, a movement created to promote neighborhood small businesses, coming up Nov. 24, I’m reminded of the number of times I’ve run into our local True Value and Ace Hardware on a DIY mission and left feeling so grateful that I have these convenient and reliable retailers right in the ’hood.

Big-box home centers certainly hold an important place in the repair/renovation world, especially for me when the Home Depot was a sponsor of my TV show, “Toolbelt Diva.” Each episode had a shopping segment where I’d buy supplies with the help of an orange-vested team member. If only real-life projects fit neatly into 11-minute segments with a “ta-da!” and completed project at the end of a half-hour.

Alas, home-improvement projects usually obey Murphy’s Law, and trips for supplies are rarely singular. I’d say the law of probability also comes into play for us in Boulder City, as older homes are far more likely to yield snafus and “what-the-bleeps” mid-project.

As if convenience and supporting neighborhood business weren’t reason enough to shop at our local hardware stores, I contend that knowledge and old-fashioned helpfulness are what make our True Value and Ace Hardware the standout winners over team orange and team blue.

It’s invaluable to have a salesperson who knows the types of issues you can run into based on knowledge of homes in the area. I learned that lesson 20 years ago while repairing a hose bib at my parents’ house in Las Vegas. Multiple trips to Depot proved futile when the team member kept giving me an anti-siphon valve that could never fit. It wasn’t until I went to a local plumbing supply, where the salesman knew that builders installed a type of hose bib in my folks’ community whose threads didn’t fit any anti-siphon valve Depot sold.

Jim Schumacher, owner of Boulder City’s Ace Hardware, explains that Lowes often sends folks over to him because Ace can get parts Lowes can’t. “We have catalogs that Lowes doesn’t and place special orders weekly.”

Be it old faucet stems or sliding door wheel replacements, parts are unique to older homes in Boulder, and it’s our local hardware staffers who will best know how to help you.

Something else to love about our local hardware stores: the down-home greeting of “Hi! Can I help you find something” as opposed to walking around for 20 minutes looking for an employee who ends up knowing less about a product than you do.

I also don’t appreciate having to buy a 1-pound box of screws when I need only a dozen. Not in Boulder City. You can buy them individually, just one screw or nail or pounds of them. Ace even has an old-school open fastener bin; just scoop and weigh.

Not sure of a thread size or type? Guessing a fitting diameter? Handy sizing tools are at your disposal in our local hardware stores that let you check things like SAE or metric thread gauges and fastener sizes. (SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers and here refers to tools whose size aligns with fractions of an inch.)

Staffers are eager help you, but don’t forget to help them by bringing in the old part or a photograph of what you need. Brand and model numbers are useful, too.

That friendly helpfulness translates between True Value and Ace as well, as neither store hesitates to send customers to the other.

“Just keep them in Boulder City,” says Schumacher. He adds, “It’s nice to be able to work in a small town with customers you can help and become friends with. I opened in 1974. … Kids that bought toys here are homeowners now. It’s gone full circle.”

Local knowledge, seasoned friendly and helpful staff, convenience and keeping dollars in Boulder City. We have many reasons to make Small Business Saturday every day.

A seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally’s career includes four seasons as host of Discovery Home Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Toolbelt Diva. A columnist and author, Vally splits her time in Southern Nevada, Los Angeles and New York City. Follow her on Facebook at Norma Vally “Toolbelt Diva” and visit her at www.NormaVally.com. Email Norma@NormaVally.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Hot cars and hotter ribs

Photos by Ron Eland and Linda Evans

BCHS: 2023 and beyond

Boulder City High School saw 125 students graduate Tuesday night at Bruce Eaton Field. Dozens of students have received college scholarships totaling just under $7.5 million. It was the school’s 82nd graduating class.

BCHS grad sees business grow during and following pandemic

During the pandemic, many had to find creative or alternative ways to put food on the table. For Sara Ramthun, she found not only a way to put food on her table but on the table of many others as well.

Outdoor shade can cool, bring energy efficiency to home

We all know cool shade is a hot commodity during summer months. The amount of shade around our home determines whether outdoor living spaces are something we can enjoy as days get longer and sun gets stronger. Besides making us feel more comfortable, shade can help keep the sun from fading or damaging our yard furniture, plants, equipment, etc. Shade abutting a home can reduce heat gain, making indoors cooler and more energy efficient.

Grad Walk: Emotional tradition marches on

Garrett Junior High Principal Melanie Teemant may have summed it up best when she asked, “Where else do you see this?”

BCHS Grad Night: A tradition for 33 years

It’s one of the most memorable nights in a young adult’s life. But it can also be one of the most tragic.