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Hardwick & Sons Hardware heads out of Seattle to Idaho after 87 years

Seattle's Hardwick's Hardware store is leaving after 86 years in business. The neighborhood is evolving and taxes are too high, owners say. (Courtesy of Hardwick's Hardware)

When Hardwick & Sons first opened up, Prohibition was in full swing, jazz was the trendiest music around, and the radio was the gathering point for families in the evening.

But 87 years later, the family-owned hardware store — which has stood at 42nd Street and Roosevelt Way in the U District for 81 of those years — is closing up shop. The property has officially been sold, and the Hardwicks are moving to Post Falls, Idaho.

The family is not shutting the doors forever on the hardware business, however — instead, they will open up a new shop in Post Falls.

Increased crime in the area played a major role in the decision. Last year, owner Dean Hardwick told the Dori Monson Show that he regularly sees violence outside of the shop. Theft has also been a huge problem for the small business.

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“We would find needles, and people would be tenting in our backyard, our parking lot … and plus, I’m just kind of fearful for my kids,” Hardwick said. “I have a daughter who occasionally closes out when I’m not there, and I make sure that one of our longstanding employees [is] with her to walk her to the car.”

Even without the crime, selling tools, hardware, plumbing, and electrical equipment from a small shop in the era of discount chain stores and online shopping is no easy task. Hardwick said that he made “a negative $4 an hour” last year.

The new plan in Idaho is to beef up the shop’s website, which Hardwick’s son — the future fourth-generation owner of the business — is busy expanding.

When Hardwick and his late brother first inherited Hardwick & Sons upon their father’s passing, their mother charged a very low amount of rent so that they could add to the business while starting families of their own.

Hardwick wants to do the same for his son, whom he called a diligent worker.

“All my kids have a good work ethic and they’re all best friends to one another,” he said.

The family is sad to say goodbye to Seattle after nearly a century of business, but they’re looking with hope toward their new home in Idaho.

“I’m really sad about it, but it’s just too dangerous here,” he said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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