By Joshua Maloni
In Lewiston, the answer to “Who you gonna call” isn’t Ghostbusters. It’s Warren’s.
For more than a decade, the hardware store has been an invaluable source of recommendations for anything and everything mechanical, or related to construction or major appliances. That’s in addition to a wide range of in-store products available to those DIY-inclined.
But that might change when owner Bill Warren sells his store. He is ready for a well-deserved retirement.
“A couple of years ago, I had a health issue. And ever since then, my wife’s been hoping that I might slow down a little bit. So, now's the time,” he said. “It'll be 11 years in springtime that we've been here. We built the business up to where it belongs, we feel. It's time to let somebody else take it over – take it to the next level.”
Though his daughter, Ashley, is well-qualified to take over, Warren said, “She's going to pursue her own interests. She has a culinary degree. She knows the business inside and out, but she’d prefer not to operate it.”
Warren’s Village Hardware carries thousands of indoor and outdoor products designed to improve one’s home. (File photo)
Both the business and the building, at 185 Portage Road, are for sale. In the meantime, “We’re not closing,” Warren said.
“We’re going to stay here. Ashley will be here. I’ll be here. We’ll run it until it’s sold.”
Though it will be up to the new owner to determine the building’s future use, Warren said, “To me, it's a turnkey operation. But that would be up to the next person.
“We don't anticipate selling the business for it to be other than a hardware store. That just makes too much sense in the village. And there really isn't a second location for this type of operation down here.”
While that’s true, it’s not just the uniqueness of the products that makes this business stand out. Warren acknowledged his store has become a go-to source for information.
In 2016, the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce recognized Warren’s Village Hardware as the Lewiston Business of the Year. At that time, President Jennifer Pauly wrote, “Nothing can compare to the staff's firsthand knowledge. With the electrical and cosmetic design experience of the owners, customers receive personalized service from the moment they step into the store.
“Customers range from local residents to contractors. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising for Warren's Village Hardware. New customers are often referred by homeowners who completed their renovation projects with help from the store staff – securing supplies as needed.”
Warren said, “It’s a neat feeling. It really is. I've always been in the service business. And here, it's still a service business, with a retail component. We're here to help people – as much as anything else.
“I'll miss it. That's for sure.”
And customers, undoubtedly, will miss speaking with Bill and Ashley.
“It's the kind of thing where we really owe a debt of gratitude to the community for coming back and supporting us these last 10 years – it wouldn't have happened without them, for certain,” he said. “We've made a lot of friends. Customers have turned into friends. We’ll value that for a long time to come.
“But it’s time.”
The property is for sale through Coldwell Banker Integrity Real Estate and agent Courtland “Vandy” Van Deusen.
The Warrens – Gail and Bill, with daughter, Ashley, posed for this picture inside their Portage Road store when honored as the Lewiston Business of the Year in 2016. (File photo courtesy of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce)