Bellmore Landmark to Close

Roy Weinman to shutter Bedford Ave. hardware

 

It came as a surprise. “Roy is retiring and closing the store,” she said starkly.

We went outside, where she told us Roy was sitting in his white-colored van, the engine off, waiting for her. He sat behind the wheel.

He greeted us with his familiar welcoming smile as we stepped in. “Hey, how you doing?” he said, with characteristic warmth.

“Are you really closing?” we asked, going right at the jugular of the story.

“Yes, yes I am,” was his response – always that hint of a smile.

So it had been revealed that Roy Weinman, proprietor of Weinman Hardware, arguably the most historical and well-known hardware store in the region for at least 80 years, will close the ‘tool shed’ doors. But ‘soon’ is the only word out of his mouth regarding when, as this website caught up with him again, sitting behind the wheel of his customary white van during the Bellmore Lions Club flea market on Sunday.

“It’s time, I’m ready now,” he said, no emotion in his voice as he spoke. “My son will open a small store to fix lawnmowers and screens, those types of things,” he continued. But it would go no further than that.

What was once the region’s most thriving general hardware store serving a farming region as far north as Hempstead Turnpike to provide farming supplies and tools to farmers, to featuring marine supplies for mariners who trolled or lived along the canals long before the swamps were built over with tract housing, the hardware store was no longer sustaining the kinds of ‘dollar purchases’ to keep it open.
This reporter wrote once before of the sprinkler systems and sewage lines and equipment needed by the communities to build them as those dollar purchases. Now, requests are often for screws to fit into walls.

“I’m not as good or as fast as I used to be, either,” Weinman also admitted, adding another factor to the close.

Said Walter Eisenhardt Jr. of Bellmore, “The store, with its original tin walls and ceilings, says much about the man and his trade. Gone and going are the things of the past, such as service, sound and accurate advice. Seeing Roy about a needed part was like seeing your butcher, doctor or shoe repairman. He always knew exactly what would fix your problem, and whether it would net him nine cents or $90 you got the same treatment. Roy saw no difference, and was not in it for the money, he did it for the community. Find that today.”

Bedford Avenue was a place where workers on Friday and Saturday nights after work would go home, have supper and come back and shop the street for their weekly provisions and goods, Weinman recalled. On Fridays stores were open until 9 p.m., and Saturdays they were open until 11 p.m.,” he told this website.

“Roy is unique in what he offers,” said Teri Rosca of Bellmore. “Not many people deal with things in the way that he can,” she said. “Closing Weinman Hardware will change the entire nature the Bedford Avenue,” she concluded.

Robert Bateman said that Roy could work with old equipment to refurbish and make it almost like new, where “big hardware stores now tell you to buy a new one.”

Weinman once remarked to this reporter that when the big ‘box’ stores came in they hired professionals to occupy the aisles and help customers as they came in with questions. “But once the stores got a foothold, you couldn’t find those professionals as much,” he said. So Weinman’s excelled at customer service, still perhaps the most valuable asset a small business has over larger competitors.

“Roy is a landmark,” maintained Nina Lanci, a member of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. “Roy has touched so many people in this community because of his positive outlook,” she said.

Weinman said he would continue in his role in the Bellmore Lions Club.
— DF

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