HARD TIMES IN HARDWARE DOOM 60-YEAR-OLD SHOP STORE: A NEWHALL LANDMARK WILL BECOME JUST A MEMORY AFTER A FINAL SALE.
NEWHALL -- For 60 years, Newhall Hardware was the place to buy that tiny screw, odd-size nuts and bolts or even the perfect doorstop.
But the iconic neighborhood store -- which struggled to survive in an era of big-box retailers with their acres of parking and convenient locations -- is closing its doors.
"It's kind of sad," said 56-year-old Newhall resident Steve Minetti. "It's been here so long."
Minetti was one of about 40 customers waiting for the store's doors to open at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the first day of the liquidation sale.
Some customers came for the discounted prices. Others came for old times' sake. The store opened in 1947 and celebrated its 60th anniversary in August.
Neon signs -- "Must sell to the Bare Walls!" and "Closing Forever!" -- were posted throughout the store.
The somber mood inside the store was countered with employees scurrying around helping customers who jostled down the narrow aisles holding on to buckets that serve as the store's shopping baskets.
A yellow pad of paper sat on the front counter, urging customers to sign in and leave a message. But the paper was blank Tuesday morning as mourners preferred to give their condolences to owner Victor Feany in person.
"It's very difficult," Feany said. "One of the things that makes it difficult is the close friends and family who are here."
Owner needs a hug
Feany's mom, Dolly, 84, came from Placentia to give her son moral support and a hug.
"It's really hard on him today," she said Tuesday. "He has been here a long time."
Feany started working at the store 33 years ago and bought it from the original owner, Don Guglielmino, nine years ago.
Feany had his eye on owning a hardware store since his toddler days, his mother said. His father took him to Newhall Hardware on the former San Fernando Road when he was just 3. The street was renamed Main Street last year in a city effort to rejuvenate the old downtown.
"He said he wanted to own a hardware store," Dolly Feany said. "This was the store."
"My dream came true," said Feany. "I had a good 30 years here. I can't complain."
Feany said he wanted to keep the store open as a landmark but it just wasn't profitable. The store closed Friday, and the liquidation sale started Tuesday.
Feany, a Lake Elizabeth resident, said he doesn't know what he will do next.
Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar was one of the visitors Tuesday morning asking Feany whether there were any other options.
"We don't want to do this," Feany told him. "This is my life."
On Tuesday, longtime customers poured into the store.
Valencia resident Bill Ding shopped at Newhall Hardware at least three times a week. A carpenter, Ding preferred the store with its Main Street-USA atmosphere to the big-box retailers.
"Here you get the straight scoop," Ding said. "If they don't have it, they will get it for you. Fair and honest."
Newhall Hardware has heart and personality, said Carolyn Lodes, a customer for 36 years.
"You wander around and see what little treasures you can find," Lodes said. "The store is irreplaceable."
Place to find anything
On Tuesday, Andy Sherry, a Newhall Hardware customer since 1960, said he had his eye on a chain saw, if the price was right.
He recalled a day when he needed a three-quarter-inch Easy Out screw remover and a 12-point socket for some plumbing repairs. The big chain stores in the area didn't have them.
"I come over here, and they've got it," Sherry said.
Roy Swank, a former Newhall Hardware employee, came to pay his respects and do some shopping.
When he worked at the store about 50 years ago, it was the only hardware store in the area.
"I knew everybody in town," said Swank, 74.
On Tuesday, the Castaic resident's bucket contained a spatula, chip clip, lemon squeezer and two bottles of fiberglass cleaner.
"I can't find it anywhere else," Swank said of the cleaner. "This is the only place that has it."
GOING OUT OF BUSINESS
Newhall Hardware, 24322 Main St., is holding a liquidation sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
2 photos, box
(1 -- color) Some area residents read the signs while others go inside for the beginning of the liquidation sale at Newhall Hardware, quitting business after 60 years as a town landmark.
(2) Newhall Hardware owner Victor Feany gets a hug from his mother, Dolly Feany, on Tuesday, the first day of a store-liquidation sale. Owning the store had been his dream since he was a toddler.
Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer
GOING OUT OF BUSINESS (see text)