When a business goes away there's usually a certain amount of speculation among the local populace about what will be the replacement. One type of business often wished for is a hardware store. Well, we've only had two hardware stores in recent memory on or near Connecticut Avenue -- one left a few weeks ago and the other has just announced they are also calling it quits. True-Value Hardware was on P Street at Dupont Circle and they moved out a few weeks ago. Now Candey Hardware on 18th Street also at Dupont Circle is going away. What happened? Did we stop needing hardware? Or did Home Depot take all the customers?
The usual course of events, at least in this neck of the woods, is that the lease expires, the rent is jacked up to something other worldly, and the business either closes completely or moves. That's not the case with Candey, the family owns the building -- and now they plan to sell it. According to Candey owner Gwen Lofton in an interview with the Washington Post, the store has been losing "a hundred customers a day in the past few years." I don't know how you figure that out, but, regardless, it doesn't sound good.
Maybe some of these big drug stores could incorporate some of the more commonly needed hardware items into their inventory. Maybe CVS could lose some toothbrushes and sell some nails instead. How about dumping some of the thousand different tissue brands and getting some paint in their place? Maybe get rid of a few hundred types of deodorant and put in a few power tools.
But certainly, unless you're Home Depot, it's enough to give potential hardware store owners pause about taking the risk of starting up a business in the city.