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Everything must go as Glassell Park hardware store closes up after 90 years in business

Apr 30, 2015

Ed Rauen of Verdugo Hardware | Nathan Solis

By NATHAN SOLIS

GLASSELL PARK– In 1923 Ed Rauen’s grandfather opened Verdugo Hardware on Verdugo Road. In 1939, the business moved to where it sits today on Eagle Rock Boulevard. That’s where Rauen is now currently holding a close out sale on all the merchandise as he prepares to close the family business after nine decades.

“When I’m looking at the end of this sale, I should have a vacant room,” says Ed Rauen, 64, who is planning to retire and lease the property after Verdugo Hardware is liquidated.

Everything must go is an understatement. Tools and other supplies are slashed by 25%. Fixtures, shelves and the clock on the wall are also for sale. Even the Coke machine has a price tag on it.

The closing of the shop will end a long-family tradition.  Ed Raun, who shares his grandfather’s name, said his father worked in the shop during World War II. His brother, Steve, also worked at the store, but left in the 2000s. Ed went to college, became a banker, but returned to the family business about 20 years ago.

Rauen says the hardware business took a hit during the last recession. Business was steady, but never recovered. There were regulars, but they were buying less and less. Rauen is banking on Glassell Park’s changing art scene to take advantage of the location. Rauen says that an old hardware store is the perfect location for an art gallery.

Though he shakes his head thinking about that scenario, “My focus right now is on the closure of the store.”

The aisles at Verdugo Hardware are adorned with banners as a steady crowd pours into the store. Vince Ojeda from Eagle Rock knows the staff by first name.

“Good friendly family atmosphere here,” Ojeda says as he checks out. “It’s going to be sad. But I’ll be back again before they close for good.”

Tim Kagen has been working at Verdugo Hardware for nine years and considers the whole sale bitter sweet. “It’s nice to see that the store has been around for so long. I’ve enjoyed my time here and my life here.”

Assistant manager Connie Muldoon is tapping away at a calculator at the paint counter, ringing up sales under a ladder that towers over her head.

“I’m a little sad. I’ve learned a lot working here. My boss [Ed] works hard. He’s here every day at 4 o’clock every morning, six days a week. He’s ready to retire.”

Verdugo Hardware 
3516 N Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 255-5191

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Photo by Nathan Solis

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Photo by Nathan Solis

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.

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