After serving the neighborhood for 38 years, Glen Park Hardware will be closing its doors by the end of the summer. Owners Susan and Hal Tauber are retiring and have put their store up for sale, but so far, no buyers have shown interest in the space. We caught up with Susan Tauber to learn about their nearly four decades in the neighborhood, and their future plans.
The Taubers are longtime residents of Glen Park. Prior to opening the store, they were both teachers, but when the '70s recession hit, they decided that they needed to try something different. The hardware store was up for sale, so they gave it a go and bought the business.
“We live around the corner. We walk to the store and work more closely with our neighbors now, and we feel more connected to the neighborhood than we ever have," said Susan. "Before, when we were teachers, we would do our jobs and come home, so we only knew our next-door neighbors. But over the years, we have really gotten to know everyone, old and new faces, through the store."
When they first took over the hardware store, the clientele was quite different. “There were a lot of teachers, musicians, artists, and crafty people shopping here back then, but now, none of those people can afford living here, unless they already have a foothold in the area. That includes us,” she said. “We already have a place in the neighborhood, so that’s wonderful."
“Back then, those creative people gave us a variety and were an interesting mix. It’s not that the new people are not interesting anymore—they are very nice people, but there isn’t that diversity anymore that there once was."
The couple has experienced some challenges over the years. In the mid-'80s, the upstairs neighbors, who were living in a separate rental, were smokers; they smoked in bed one night, and set the building on fire. The upper part of the building was totaled, and the hardware store was damaged by smoke and fire, putting it out of commission for a few months.
Susan also talked about recent construction in the area, which sometimes causes restriction to the store’s access and visibility. “The area is denser and traffic patterns are heavier, too,” she said. “But overall, it’s still a great neighborhood. The people are lovely and always have been.”
The Taubers' plan for retirement is to just “stay put” in the neighborhood. “We already have our house, so we can actually afford the cost of living here. It would be insane to change that.”
As far as selling the store, the lease expires at the end of August. If there's a buyer, Susan and her husband are willing hang around for a little while longer to help them get started. “If we have to wrap more things up, we may have to ask the landlady for an extension. She’s been nice to us so far, so that should be fine."
Since Cole Hardware recently lost a store in the big Mission fire, Susan said she inquired with the company to see if they might be interested in taking over. But Cole Hardware owner Rick Karp told us that his stores need to have about 5,000 square feet to function, and the Glen Park store is only about 2,000 square feet. “We love Glen Park and have a great relationship with the owners,” said Karp. “It just isn’t feasible to move into that location.”
Susan said that she would be pleased if Cole Hardware could somehow open a smaller satellite store in the Glen Park location, but she understands that it is “their business ... We know how overwhelming their disaster was, and how much they have to cope with. We just know that the neighbors would like to continue to see a hardware store here—including us, since we will continue to live in the neighborhood when we retire.”
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