Is Famous Cole Hardware a Local Store, a Chain Store, or Something In Between?

I don’t really get why San Francisco doesn’t have a Home Depot or a Lowes or what  have you. We’ll probably get one next year of course, but part of the reason why we haven’t had one up to now is opposition from beloved Cole Hardware.

As seen in Cole Valley. What do you see?  


What’s the relationship betwixt Cole Hardware and the national Ace Hardware Co-op with billions dollars in sales? Don’t know. When you buy a hammer at Cole Hardware, does that get included in Ace’s claimed $3 billion in annual sales? Don’t know.

Ace can afford to hire spokespeople like former Oaklander John Madden, so that allows for a national brand and that has allowed Ace to become the “Savior of Main Street“? Really?

(Ace was famous for dropping Suzanne Somers as a spokesmodel back in the day because a goofy photo of her surfaced and then was used for a waterski company’s ad. Here’s the PG-13 version (oddly Photoshopped, for some purpose) and the here’s the R-rated Full Monty, though it looks more like something from an especially joyful mammogram, which she probably could have used at the time as she’s now a breast cancer survivor. Speaking of which, don’t “have a discussion with your doctor” when you turn 40 ladies, just demand your mommygram, that’s it, no discussion needed, to Hell with any federal task force. Speaking of local, poor Suzanne was kicked out of USF (nee Lone Mountain College for Women) for getting preggers back in ’64. What a different world it was back then. But I digress…)

How many Cole Hardware stores would have to open before it would be considered just another despised chain store? Don’t know.

And I don’t know what’s up with the 12 felony counts in that alleged procurement scam.

So, I’m not seeing a black-and-white issue here. I’m seeing charcoal grey and ash grey and medium grey and honestly, I’m not seeing a whole bunch of diff between Cole’s and Lowe’s.

Just saying, get your hammers and mouse traps wherever you wish, of course. I don’t care.

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2 Responses to “Is Famous Cole Hardware a Local Store, a Chain Store, or Something In Between?”

  1. Matthew says:

    This post raises some interesting questions. However, would it have been impossible to seek out the answer to the exact relationship between Ace and Cole Hardware? I understand that you are not an investigative reporter, but why bother asking (and posting) if you’re not going to attempt to seek out an anwer?

    I also find it bizarre that you suggest there are no meaningful differences between something like Lowe’s or Home Depot and Cole Hardware, and that there are no societal implications in choosing to shop at one over the other. Granted, we shouldn’t make assumptions about what these differences are or are not, and we might be surprised to find out what they are or are not. But you merely raise a question and then draw the conclusion that because there are questions there must not be much of a difference. That’s quite a leap.

    I’ll leave you with one thought: People often assume it is ‘cheaper’ to shop at the big box stores. If this is true (which it may or may not be, and which may or may not be reflected in the price consumers pay), one must consider other factors, like how much did the community pay in tax incentives to bring the store in and give it its enormous parking lot? How far are people driving to get there and back, when all they need is a few things? Both of these raise questions of overall environmental impacts. Perhaps most importantly, if there are indeed savings, who is bearing the brunt of these low costs (i.e. who is being exploited so you don’t have to pay more?)?

    Your post is shockingly incomplete. I have not read your blog before, but I don’t know if you’re quite living up to the implied responsibilities of a ‘citizen.’ Opinions are valid, but they should be informed opinions, and backing them up is usually a nice thing to do when presenting an argument. Also, a citizen absolutely should care where one gets their hammers and mouse traps. Just sayin’.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I guess I could call them up and hear their spin, but it’s not really my job to that. Did you read the links? I did, you’re supposed to as well.

    It’s not the typical top-down, Ace to local hardware store type of arrangement, as the links show.

    Didn’t say there are “no meaningful differences.” How many felonies per store is Lowes charged with? Three? Two? Less than one? [Bingo]

    I don’t know what tax incentives Lowes is getting. I know that they’re forking over some six figure grants for this and that. Sort of an unincentive, really. Is Cole Hardware doing anything like that?

    I imagine Lowes paid money for their location and parking lot. I don’t think SF just gave Lowes a parking lot.

    Right now, people who live next to Cole’s drive to San Mateo County to go to the Home Depot – what’s the point in that? Isn’t the Bayshore pretty good place?

    Did the Cole’s Hardware people have a beef with Goodman’s Lumber, back in the day? Was Goodman’s a horrible chain store?

    Are the people who make the products for Cole Hardware/Ace exploited? Where do the products that Ace stores sell come from?

    Have you been reading the Internet lately? You seem to be to be easily shocked. The 14th Amendment + being born in Florida = citizen. Not much of standard, I realize.

    Your hammer money goes to millionaire owners in one case and sub-millioniare owners in another. I’ll leave it to you to pick your preference.

    Anyway, the links have your answers….