Every city, town, or village has stories to tell. Oftentimes it is a famous person or event. Historical landmarks are often another proud piece of local lore to share. Many of Lake County's Historic Districts have undergone significant changes since the county's establishment in 1840. Villages such as Fairport or Madison still have the look and tell-tale signs depicting their past. Willoughby has reinvented its historic Vine Street sector into a new visitor destination. One such city that has undergone significant changes recently is Painesville. Downtown Painesville has experienced many changes in recent decades. Recreation Park has partnered with Lake Erie College to become an improved and vibrant sports venue. New businesses have claimed old sites such as Bitzer's Furniture and the downtown hub. Lake East Hospital (1902-2011) has been torn down and a new downtown landscape is in progress. Today, I look at a store that has stood the test of time. As a volunteer curator of a local 1871 lighthouse, repairs are an unending part of a week, month, or year. Recently, I stopped at a local hardware in downtown Painesville. Located on 23 South Street, Joughin's Hardware is a stop I should have made once the original Mentor Hardware relocated. Like Mentor Hardware, Joughin Hardware is a store that is a maze of isles, rows, corners, and crevices that contain thousands of items. When it comes to hardware, big box stores like Lowe's and Home Depot have nothing on Joughin's.
Founded in 1877, Joughin claims to have 37,000 products available for the consumer. The store has been in the Joughin family for four generations. Joughin Hardware is even older than Coca-Cola, Cheverolet, and four states. The next time you need any hardware product for a home, business, or outdoor repair, I encourage you to stop by Joughin and experience a slice of Americana. Walk into a store that remains a living timeline to the past. Wander the floors of items for sale. Visit with employees connected by ties that bind. You may occasionally find a cheaper price somewhere else, but you will have missed a chance to experience a moment and hidden gem in Lake County's history.