Part three in a series
Jimmy Jackson had gone to school at U.Va., and when he moved back to the area in 2010, he chose to settle in Crozet. Jackson can’t remember when he first discovered Crozet Hardware, but he’s been a loyal customer ever since: “It’s my favorite store in Crozet,” he said. Jackson, a semi-retired attorney who works at home, is likely to undertake do-it-yourself household projects and he guessed he’s saved a ton of money by not having to travel to a big box store in Waynesboro or Charlottesville.
“In a small space, there is an incredible inventory,” he said. “I don’t know how they do it.” Jackson said many a time he’s walked into the store saying, “Well, I know you guys don’t have this.” But then they do, he said, whether it be a strangely-shaped switch cover or a tiny, hard-to-find plumbing part. Some of the inventory is housed upstairs, but anyone who waits on you knows exactly what’s on hand and where to find it. Jackson also taps the DIY knowledge bank of owner Rick Rusher, long-time employee Jeff Birkhead and other staff. “Sometimes I’m trying to solve a tricky problem, perhaps using something in a way it wasn’t intended,” he said. “They’re good at helping me figure out work-arounds.”
The Crozet Hardware Co. also cuts glass to specification, repairs kerosene heaters, re-wires lamps, puts new handles on tools. They’ll sell you a length of stovepipe or a wick for an oil lamp. There’s a sharpening service that will put a fine edge on just about anything. Birdseed is a big seller, as are supplies for domesticated animals. Someone will help you figure out when best to plant potatoes, or what seed will attract your favorite birds. There’s a selection of candy that has developed in an eccentric way over time according to the whims of customers.
Not only is the staff knowledgeable, they’re also personable, Jackson said. “When you walk in the door, someone immediately asks you how they can help. Where else do you find that?”
It’s on a hill, with a view that looks out over the golf course and to the trees beyond, and a patio that allows customers to watch the sun as it sinks below the horizon. In mid-winter, Restoration’s manager, Dale Farthing, was looking forward to spring, when the patio is filled with families, golfers, and others watching for the perfect sunset. Farthing experimented with a mobile tap truck last fall, and the reception was so warm that he’s renovating the bar to add six new draft beers, mostly local, to address the area’s enthusiasm for craft beer. “This gives us 12 beers on tap,” he said. He’s also installed a fire pit outdoors to help with chilly evenings.
Farthing said he’d add another choice for a day, a departure from the artisanal beers his patrons love. “We’ll have cheap green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.” Also on the menu will be classic Irish-American dishes like corned beef and cabbage.
Farthing said he enjoys having weddings in this beautiful space, but also invites neighbors to celebrate smaller occasions, like birthday parties. “We’d like this to become a community center,” he said.
Tori Luzader said she’s been a customer there for years and has never had a bad experience. Like many of the customers, she enjoys dining on the patio when the weather is nice. She’s a customer for all seasons, though, saying, “The indoor atmosphere is welcoming and cozy.”
She likes the food served at Restoration and appreciates the selection, but she singled out the service for special mention: “Dale and his staff are always happy and friendly.”
Farthing said this is not a coincidence. He’s seen the business flourish after several changes in management, and he believes the attitude of the staff has made a huge difference. “It’s all about the service,” he said. “If staff members forget that, I make sure they know.”