Fillmore Hardware closing after 49 years

Photograph of Fillmore Hardware by Rose Hodges

One of Fillmore Street’s iconic institutions will disappear by the end of the year when Fillmore Hardware closes its doors promptly at 5:55 for the final time.

For 49 years — since 1961 — the store has been the ultimate neighborhood-serving business. Originally twice its present size, it was a full-service hardware and glass company that furnished the materials used to renovate many of the Victorians in the neighborhood. In recent years it become a more eclectic emporium, keeping the basics but focusing more on housewares and whimsy.

“Simply put, we are tired,” owners and sisters Patti Lack and Terri Alonzo write in a letter to their customers and neighbors. “We considered staying one more year so we could celebrate 50 years in business,” the sisters write, adding, “It just isn’t worth it.” The two sisters have been running the store since their brother-in-law, Phil Dean, retired in 2005 after nearly 40 years as manager. Their father, Jim Hayes, remained actively involved in the business until his death last year at age 89.

“We never could have closed while he was alive,” Patti Lack said. “It kept him going.”

She said they will gradually sell off the store’s considerable inventory in the coming weeks and hope to be out by December 31. They own the building and have retained a broker to offer it for lease. She said they had not considered selling the store, which was started by their grandfather.

“Nobody wants to buy a hardware store,” she said. “The only reason we’ve lasted is because we own the building.”

Lack said it was an especially difficult decision given the number of people who come in regularly and tell them it’s their favorite store.

“It’s just time,” she said. “But we’re gonna totally miss it.”

EARLIER: Fillmore Phil Dean: a good egg

  • Ronald Hobbs

    Sometimes it was a plunger, sometimes a 17-cent fuse or a component for one of my quirky inventions that never quite worked out. It was the hardware store.

    I watched Phil’s kids grow up. Patty and the girls were dear to me. Jim (Mr. Hayes) and I would sit in Pacific Heights Bar and study DOS together — he with his martini, I with my wine.

    Long forgotten now, Father Martin, “Don,” who was a clerk there, somehow wrangled from Rome to get his small order of brothers recognized — Dominican’s. OPD (Order of Priors Disconced). He will always be a part of my living history. At the “House of St. Joseph” so many times I attended masses. I lived there for a few months when no choices remained. Phil Dean lived there, too.

    So this is a salute to the likes of something that we shall never see again. Thank you girls, thank you Phil and Father Martin — and thank you Jim Hayes. You never meant outright to make the world a better place — but you did.

    Ronald Hobbs