July 23, 2012 by Sarah M
// By Dylan Thomas //
LINDEN HILLS — Two hardware stores are apparently too many for Linden Hills.
After 89 years in the neighborhood, Bayers Do It Best Hardware will close Sept. 1, owner Bob Bayers announced in a letter mailed to customers. Bayers, who started working in the family-run store in 1967, said he plans to retire.
His decision comes less than one year after another locally owned hardware store, Settergren Ace Hardware, opened a second location in the former Linden Hills Co-op building, located just around the block from Bayers’ store in Linden Hills’ 43rd & Upton commercial district.
Bayers said he saw business drop off after the Settergren store moved in. The unusually mild winter of 2011–2012 didn’t help, either, leaving Bayers with a large amount of unsold seasonal inventory.
Bayers attempted to boost business at his 4312 Upton Ave. S. store by opening The Pantry, a small convenience grocery section, last fall. But that wasn’t enough, and he cited the investment made in getting The Pantry up-and-running as the third factor in his decision.
Bayers said he plans to hold sales in August and liquidate his stock.
The arrival of Settergren proved controversial in the neighborhood where, in 1923, Bayers’ great uncle Cecil Clark took over operation of a hardware store that opened four years earlier. Some said that made Bayers Do It Best Hardware the oldest family-run business in Linden Hills.
Settergren purchased the co-op building at 2813 W. 43rd St. in spring 2011, after it sat empty for about nine months. At the time, owner Mark Settergren said he wanted to prevent another, larger hardware chain from moving into Southwest and competing with his stores: Settergren Ace Hardware at 5405 Penn Ave. S. in Armatage and Diamond Lake Ace Hardware at 5425 Nicollet Ave. S. in Tangletown.
The Settergren stores have nearly as long a history in Minneapolis as Bayers Do It Best Hardware. The first opened in 1924 at the corner of 27th Avenue South and East Lake Street, and the still-operating 54 & Penn location opened in 1957.
There was brief talk of a Settergren-Bayers merger last summer, but the two storeowners could not come to terms.
Bayers, also known for organizing the annual 9-11 memorial concert at Lake Harriet, said he plans to remain in the neighborhood. He lives about a block-and-a-half from his store.
What he is calling a “retirement sale” will run July 26–Sept. 1. The store will be closed today through Wednesday in preparation for the sale. A retirement party was scheduled for 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Aug. 11 at the store.
It’s unclear just how long Bayers’ retirement will last. In an e-mail, he wrote that he “may end up working in a hardware store in the future.”
Bayers said he owns the hardware store building and land with his ex-wife, and they intend to sell the property sometimes after the store closes Sept. 1.