LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- In the age of big-box hardware stores like
Home Depot and OSH, Hastings La Canada Hardware could no longer compete.
But as the store begins its liquidations sale and plans to close its
doors at the end of June, the community loses an institution -- a
56-year-old mom-and-pop store that was about more than just money.
The big-box stores will never compare to his, store owner John
Hastings said. “These people are my friends, I grew up here. Those places
are just a big old cash machine.”
“Here with me, it’s about the people and the service,” the 46-year-old
said. “If you make money, that’s great, but I’m not trying to wipe out
Hastings and his father Jack, a three-time La Canada Flintridge mayor,
purchased the store in 1989. They were the second owners of the store,
which is at 1111 Foothill Blvd. While the number of sales at the store
weren’t a problem, he wasn’t making the big-ticket sales it needed,
It’s a misconception that the best prices are at the big stores,
Hastings said. But those stores do offer shoppersimmediate gratification
with their large inventories. As an Ace hardware store, Hastings had
competitive prices, but he had to order the merchandise, he said.
Hastings will be remembered as a store that helped define the
character of La Canada Flintridge, said Schuyler Sprowles, director of
the La Canada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Assn.
It’s a store “you could talk with merchants who knew you and the
projects you were working on in your home,” Sprowles said.
Hastings said he’s going to miss the people most when the store
closes. He plans to be a general contractor or start a handyman business,
he said. The La Canada Hardware building will become an office building,
Most of all, Hastings said he’ll miss his customers, who he is just as
apt to refer to as his friends. On Saturday’s the store has been a
gathering place where clusters of people stand around and catch up, he
“That’s what every day is like to me,” he said. “I’m really going to
miss the contact with the people.”