If you are fortunate enough, you’ve spent some time in a small hardware store. You know, the kind of place that smells of paint and moth balls, 3-in-One Oil and lawn fertilizer. The store may have been old enough to bring back pleasant memories of the creak of hardwood floors, screen door advertising, the glow of dusty 60-watt lightbulbs, and soft-spoken conversations about copper fittings, water heaters and mouse traps. They were, and still are, truly American institutions.

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