CUSTOMERS HAVE SOFT SPOT

FOR THIS HARDWARE STORE

By Mike Piekarski

To many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has been a disaster. Many consumers, wary of contracting the disease, have been avoiding stores altogether. As a result, many businesses have suffered. 

But the flip side to that story is this: Because so many more people are not going – or going more infrequently -- to the office, they are tackling jobs they had been putting off. In the case of DeLollo’s Hardware store in Watervliet, that situation has proved to be a boon to its business.

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“A lot of people are at home and are doing home projects,” said DeLollo’s owner Rich Gaughan. “People are buying a lot more paint (and) buying cleaning supplies, plumbing supplies. It’s been better (than before the pandemic) because people didn’t want to deal with the big-box stores, and our prices were fair, and our service was better. We’ve seen a lot of new faces.”

 

According to a 2009 article in The (Troy) Record, the building at 701 19th Street originally was a grocery store in 1923, run by Anthony and Concetta DeLollo. In the 1940s, their son, Henry, converted the store from groceries to hardware. In 1963, Henry Jr. and his wife took over the store and ran it until Henry DeLollo Jr. retired and sold the business in 2007 to Carr Hardware. In 2012, Gaughan and his business partner, Mike Legnard, bought the building from DeLollo, took over the company, restored the DeLollo name and retained all of Carr’s employees.

 

“We have a very knowledgeable staff,” said Gaughan, 54, a Latham resident and native of Stillwater. Currently, DeLollo’s has two full-time and four part-time employees.

One of those employees is Corey Lesson, who has worked at the store, through a number of iterations, since 1996.

 

The busiest times of the year at the store, Lesson said, are the months May through August. In the winter, he said, “rock salt is a big seller – and you have your repair of snow blowers to get you through” the season.

 

DeLollo’s sells supplies relating to plumbing, electrical work, and lawn and garden, among other items; provides key- and glass-cutting services (including Plexiglas); and can recommend plumbing contractors for household jobs. DeLollo’s also provides in-store services such as screen and small-engine repair and (single-pane) window replacement.

 

With more people home than ever before, more “accidents” seem to be occurring involving windows and sliding doors, Gaughan said. “We’ve done a lot more screen (repairs) than normal.”

 

Gaughan said he is happy that his company is “providing a service to the community (and) helping people out” with their home-repair or maintenance project needs. “Most people like the hands-on service we provide.”

 

Another factor in the store’s favor, according to employees, is its inventory. “A common phrase around here is, ‘You carry stuff that the big-box stores don’t,’” said Lesson, though he couldn’t pinpoint specific items that customers were referring to.

 

Part of the reason DeLollo’s has lasted so long and has so many repeat customers, Lesson said, is because “there’s a lot of loyalty in Watervliet.”

 

DeLollo’s, just like it was before the pandemic hit this area, is open seven days a week. Its hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its website address is http://delolloshardware.com/.

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