Five Cool Ways to Think Outside the Big Box: Hardware Stores

by Carrie Havranek

We like to think outside the box at LLPG, and sometimes that means thinking outside of the big box and going to a smaller store, where old-school values such as friendly service and hands-on help are integral to the success of an independent business. And you know you’re likely to need one, because spring means gardening, painting, sanding decks, mending fences and all kinds of other home improvement projects that require warm weather and open windows for ventilation. We did a little bit of crowdsourcing for this story—thanks to those who chimed in with their thoughts. Here are five cool places that can help you do just that.


Cantelmi's Ace Hardware Garden Center, Forks Township
Cantelmi's in Forks Township. The have a decent garden center with some great prices. Photo by Laini Abraham.

1. Albright’s Hardware and Garden Center, Allentown. In addition to what you would expect from a hardware store and garden center—hammers and nails and topsoil and patio furniture—the folks at Albright’s can also repair small engines, sell you a Weber grill, a Toro lawn mower, and more. 2119 Walbert Avenue, 610-433-3831.

2. Aykroyd Hardware, Bethlehem. You gotta love a store that advertises itself by saying, “stop by and see what a real  hardware store has to offer.” The place dates back to 1954, when customer service mattered and America’s downtowns were generally a different place. You can find screws by the box or the piece and nails by the box or the pound. You can also find Weber grills, Milwaukee electric tools, and the run-of-the-mill stuff like lightbulbs, outlet covers and more.  743 N. New Street, Bethlehem; 610-868-0421.

3. Cantelmi’s Hardware, with locations in Forks Township and Bethlehem. Both of these locations are ACE hardware shops, and the family’s been in the business—you see where this is going right?—for nearly a century. As they say, ACE is the helpful place, and it’s generally true. If they don’t have something in stock that you’re looking for, they are great about taking suggestions and are happy to order it for you. 521 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, 610-866-0532; 1805 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township, 610-515-9800.

4. Piscitello’s Home Center, Easton. I’m fairly certain we’ve bought a lot of painting supplies at Piscitello’s in the ten years we’ve lived in Easton, an old-school hardware shop and spot where you’re bound to see lots of contractor trucks and vans in the parking lot. To that end, their web site includes a list of approved contractors. How’s that for an endorsement? You can also contract them to do your bathroom or kitchen.  2300 Wood Avenue; 610-258-0441.

5. Wentz Hardware, Emmaus. Ah, yes, another downtown hardware shop, and this one dates to 1943 and is still family owned. You’ll find the usual gamut, but the store goes the extra mile for your average hardware store and offers home repairs. So you can also have your boiler serviced, your plumbing repaired, new carpeting installed or a bathroom remodeled. How about that? 225 Main Street, Emmaus; 610-965-6078.


Do you have a favorite independently-owned hardware/home improvement store that we missed? Please let us know in the comments below.

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