LACONIA — Trustworthy Hardware, a fixture on Union Avenue for about 40 years, will close its doors for good on Wednesday.
Businessman Nick Tamposi has entered into an agreement to purchase the property from Pamela Langlitz, whose father, Moe Martineau, began the business. It had been listed for sale at $1.2 million.
The deal is set to close on Sept. 1. Merchandise will be sold to a wholesaler.
Tamposi said another hardware store could ultimately operate at that location.
The store is about a mile south of Lowe’s Home Improvement.
“Competition is good,” he said. “It breeds quality.”
He said he believes in trying to do a better job than the competition, and likes the personal touch offered in neighborhood stores.
Langlitz said she was employed at a bank 37 years ago when her father had a heart attack. She went to work at the hardware store for what she thought would be a temporary stint but turned into a career.
“I’m going to miss my customers and my staff, but I won’t miss the long hours,” she said.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to serve all these years, but we have a son to raise and want some time to enjoy our lives.”
Some of her loyal customers arrived by boat and tied up at the store’s small dock.
“People on the islands like to come by boat,” she said. “We’ve even had people load gas grills on their boat to take them back to the island.”
Property on the water has become very valuable for residential projects, but Langlitz said use of this particular frontage is limited by its close proximity to the city’s drinking water intake.
“You can’t swim there and can’t put docks in that would exceed the current four-place slip,” she said.
Langlitz said customer service is what set her store apart. A good relationship was always maintained with Lowe’s, she said.
“We work together and are a good complement to each other,” she said. “We were not trying to be Lowe’s.
Tom Drouin, of Roche Realty, was the listing agent.
He said there has been strong interest in waterfront property, including along Union Avenue, where the Barton’s Motel property is the site for a condominium project. Also, luxury condos have been built on what used to be a Burger King parking lot next to Watermark Marine.
As property along the water becomes more valuable, property taxes increase and pressure can build for land to be put to new purposes.
Scott Everett, who is transforming the Lakeport area, plans a commercial/residential development on Elm Street near Union Avenue and is refurbishing the nearby historic Opera House, which had sat mostly vacant.
He said he was also interested in the Trustworthy Hardware store property and has a backup position that could allow him a chance to buy it should there be a problem with the current agreement.
The hardware store and the area where Everett is doing his developments are part of the Urban Commercial Zone, an area where city officials have greater latitude to deviate from some zoning rules for innovative projects that could boost the local economy.
“I continue to be interested in this entire area,” Everett said. “This part of town has a lot of opportunity.”