Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Amid the July heat of 1955, four brothers—Arnold, Horace, Howard, and Oreon Wesche—took ownership of the existing Overland Hardware, working tirelessly to keep their store well oiled until 1975 when the next generation of Wesches grabbed the reigns. Dedicated to upholding their forbearers' rigorous standards of friendly and personalized service, current owners Gregg Wesche and Don Burkhardt maintain the store’s old-fashioned sensibilities of customer service. The knowledgeable staff spends time explaining tools and their uses to shoppers before carrying out purchases to customers’ horses tied up out front. The affable crew stocks shelves with seasonal supplies for all manner of projects, from large-scale home repairs to garden hobbies. Champions of speedy yet meticulous workmanship, Overland Hardware’s jack-of-all-trades staff also performs multifarious in-store and on-location services, from cutting chip keys for cars to repairing screens smashed by thieves attempting to steal cooling pies off of windowsills.
True Value traces its origins back to 1910, and now boasts 4,500 independent retailers across the country—one of which perches locally on Hampton Avenue, ready to outfit DIYers, gardeners, and homeowners with the supplies their projects demand. Should the store's generously stocked shelves leave a specific screwdriver or grass seed to be desired, a staffer can order items from True Value's densely packed catalog at no extra charge. In addition to equipping jacks-of-all-trades, the skilled technicians at Southside True Value Hardware can be called upon to repair household items, such as lawn mowers that have lost their faith in the tenets of a neatly trimmed yard.
Since Winston’s Sewing Center began dispensing quilting and needlepoint supplies in 1939, there have been quite a few innovations in the craft. That’s especially true with sewing machines. The storefront has a sizeable collection of up-to-date models that have pinpoint accuracy and programmable embroidery. These modern devices sit amid the vast stock of traditional craft supplies, including yards of luxuriant fabrics for handcrafting projects. The center also serves as just a quiet, comfortable place to sew, whether you want to do that in as part of a class, in a sociable club, or within a yarn cocoon.
The Glass Workbench—a stained-glass and glass-making specialty store—began as a family-owned enterprise in 1975. Back then, owners Glen and Joanne Bishop chose an old-style building on South Main Street to create their shrine to the age-old art of glassmaking. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the building's 2-foot-thick Burlington limestone walls enclose the shop's inventory of supplies and books about glass arts. They also house mosaic stained-glass artworks by Julie Bishop Day, Glen and Joanne's daughter, who developed the stepping-stone technique for glass decoration. Local crafters take advantage of glassmaking workshops and admire the work of the staff's resident artisans, whose custom stained-glass pieces portray nature imagery and legendary moments in history such as when Ben Franklin invented Windex.