JACKSONVILLE - The year was 1924, J Edgar Hoover was appointed the head of the FBI, regular air mail service started in the US, and Paschal Brothers Hardware opened for business on the corner of Kings and Myrtle in Jacksonville.
"We're the oldest hardware store in Jacksonville," says owner Bo Paschal. Paschal's grandfather started selling hardware at the site 88 years ago. Bo's been there for half that time. "After 45-years, I said why did I stay here? Now I can't leave."
Some items have stuck around that long too, like the tin ceiling tiles and fan that came out of the old Windsor Hotel downtown. "That fan has been running ever since," says Paschal.
The store boasts 10,000 hard to find items. "I don't know if it's 10,000 hard to find items for customers or there's 10,000 things in here we can't find," says manager Corey Hunt.
Over the years, customers have come back over and over. "I've been shopping here for that last 53 years," says Peter Condaxis. Many buy hard to find items like locksets for old homes, replacement parts for kerosene heaters and Obama keys. "We couldn't keep them on the shelf. They were a big thing around town and in this neighborhood," says Hunt.
There have been some turbulent years. The store wasn't far from many of the race riots in Jacksonville during the 1960's. "They would pass us by. They would be marching down the street and they would go by us. They wouldn't bother us at all."
Located in the inner-city, Paschal caters to walk-in customers . It was Bo's brother, Larry, who had the idea to expand the business to include more commercial clients. "Calling on the trade, giving it to them so they don't have to hunt all day for it," says Paschal.
Competition from big box stores has driven many small Mom's and Pops out of business. Bo Paschal says his secret to staying open all these years is helping people. Paschal Brothers Hardware keeps its doors open with personal service and a smile.
First Coast News