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Frager's Hardware plays hail to the chief.

Nick Kaplanis, manager of Frager's Hardware in Washington, D.C., was not surprised to get a phone call this past May from a White House intern asking questions about the store. After all, the hardware store dates back to the 1920s with its hardwood floors and tin ceilings and is an institution in D.C., according to Kaplanis.

But he was surprised to get a call back the next day asking if the president of the United States could stop by for a visit.

"Friday morning at 8:30 the Secret Service came in. At 9:45 the president came in," says Kaplanis. "He apologized for the ruckus because they had to close down the block."

President Bush shook hands with everyone, including the unsuspecting customers who were allowed to stay for the visit. The president then asked where the dog supplies were located. He bought rawhide bones and treats for his dog, Barney.

When the president was done shopping he stepped outside to the awaiting press and gave a brief speech about his positive economic outlook emphasizing the importance of small businesses. After the press conference, President Bush returned to the store for a more thorough walk-through.

In appreciation of the visit, the staff gave the president a Frager's Hardware t-shirt and a rosemary plant for his mother since Mother's Day was the following Sunday.

"It was a truly memorable event for us. We hope they decide to make it a once a term visit and turn it into a tradition," says Kaplanis. "We don't favor one party over the other."

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Title Annotation:PUBLICITY
Publication:Hardware Retailing
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:262
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