Elegy for a Lost Hardware Store

Virginia Hardware

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

I miss Virginia Hardware. I love neighborhood hardware stores, like the Candey Hardware on 18th Street downtown. They’re a symbol that we haven’t embraced the Home Depots of the world, and that we can still get just what we need in a small storefront.

Sadly, Virginia Hardware, and later, Lazy Sundae, weren’t allowed to renew their leases, and they were booted out of Clarendon. Fortunately, when Virginia Hardware became Ri Ra, they at least left the marquee, so someone will see that where they are now was once a neighborhood hardware store and locksmith and take notice of what once was. Where now stands La Tasca and the Cheesecake Factory was once the antiques market on the weekend, and a surface parking lot. Where now stand condos used to be smalltown business.

While all may not remain the same, remembering what was once is important.

4 Comments so far

  1. digitaldefection (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    i’m pretty sure lazy sundae didnt get forced out. i think they moved to falls church by choice, since mexicali blues, which is owned by the same people, is expanding into the lazy sundae space. i didnt think the ice cream was very good anyway. although i liked playing centipede.

    also, the owner of virginia hardware decided to leave the business on his own terms. more info here:http://www.arlingtonarts.org/cultural_affairs/uncommonplaces.htm

    “It’s a great need, I think, for the community and for the county, but it’s one of those things that doesn’t make any money. It’s a lot of nickel and dime sales, finding that one screw, the one nut for customers. They walk out of here really happy when they spend ten cents, but it doesn’t really help us. . . It’s sad for me, but I guess everything has an end.”

    while it sucks when nice small businesses leave due to encroaching development, keep in mind that your own residence is causing it. if you want a place to stay ‘small town’ then dont move there.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

    I didn’t realize that VA Hardware gave up their space willingly, I assume that like Lazy Sundae they had their rent raised to the point that they couldn’t sustain the business.

    I’m not asking for “tiny town” in a community of more than 200,000, DD, what I’m mourning is the loss of historic businesses due to development, economic and other factors. I think that’s personally acceptable, don’t you?

    As someone who patronized both establishments with some frequency, I also did my best to keep them in business, and I miss them.

  3. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

    Weird. I was just down there and took almost exactly the same picture.

  4. Former Clarendon Resident (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

    If you want the feel of the Virginia Hardware store (and, really, the feel of old Clarendon) drive one mile north to Cherrydale Hardware on Lee Highway.

    The fact is that it’s not just the condos that have changed the neighborhood, but more specifically it’s the new residents in those condos. I used to defend Clarendon tooth-and-nail to Washington snobs, but really the population has changed for the worse in the last 3-4 years. There really are a lot more tools around then there used to be.

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