137-Year-Old Center Hardware Puts Down New Roots In The Dogpatch

The doors of Mariposa Street's Center Hardware & Supply Co. closed on December 23rd, and to the casual passerby it may have appeared yet another case of an independently owned business forced to shutter by its big-box competitors.

Happily, that couldn't be further from the truth. Instead, the 137-year-old hardware store is expanding—moving its operations from the edge of Potrero Hill to a 20,000-square-foot retail location in the Dogpatch.

The new Center Hardware opened on January 3rd at 3003 Third St. To celebrate, the business is hosting a grand opening party on January 27th. Beginning at 10:30am and lasting all day, the event will include food trucks, discounts, and product giveaways.

Center Hardware's staff, pictured the night before opening day. | Photo: Center Hardware/Facebook

Co-owned by father-daughter team Keith and Jamie Gentner, Center Hardware has been in business in various incarnations since 1880. Originally opened as PA Smith Hardware & Glass, the company has undergone several moves over the years—including a relocation after the 1906 quake—before landing on Mariposa Street in 1987. After nearly 30 years in Potrero Hill, the Gentners, who have run Center Hardware since 1980, are excited about the business's next step.

"Our new location will make it even easier to shop with us and we have expanded our inventory to offer our wide-range of customers even more products that are available immediately,” explained Jamie Gentner in a press release.

Indeed, the configuration of the new Dogpatch store allows the Gentners to stock 30 percent more products than they could at the Mariposa Street location. And those products will serve a wide array of customers, as Jaime Gentner counts everyone from local handymen to the city of San Francisco as clients—proudly noting on her website that she provides officials with bulbs to light the Bay Bridge.

“We like to say we are woven into the fabric of this city,” she further explained. “Whether you are a home owner who needs a single light bulb or a city contractor who needs bulbs for the entire Bay Bridge, we can supply what you need and our sales staff will treat you like a king."

Inside the new location. | PHOTO: CENTER HARDWARE/FACEBOOK

All has not been easy in their new home, as the recent storms forced the Gentners to get creative to address a leaky ceiling. Thankfully, as a hardware store, they have plenty of tools at their disposal, and were able to use a funnel and plastic tubing to direct the rain to buckets.

Just the kind of solution you'd expect from a father-daughter team with hardware stores in their blood.

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137 year old center hardware puts down new roots in the dogpatch