On January 27, a call went out amongst friends on Facebook. William Schaff and Mark MacDougall posted: “This is a call out to those of us in Warren. Our beloved Mercier’s Hardware is looking like it’s closing down, after being a family run store for three generations... Let’s make it a point to go into Mercier’s on Wednesday, February 1, and each buy one thing. They are open from 7:30am-5:30pm. We can either keep them in business or at least send them out with a bang.” Within moments, 29 of their friends shared the status with their Facebook friends, and a movement was born.
Mercier’s Hardware has been in business since 1923. Owner Gary Wagenbach says, “[February 1] was the best day I’ve had in five years.” The store was opened by his wife’s grandfather, and was run by both his wife’s father and uncle until she and Wagenbach bought it over 20 years ago. “We were going to close a few times,” says Wagenbach. “It’s hard to survive out there. We’re doing everything we can to stay alive.”
The store owner went on to say, “I was surprised to see so many people come in that day, even people who had never been in before.” The fact that Wagenbach notices (and personally interacts with) every person who walks through his doors says a lot right there about what kind of store Mercier’s Hardware is. There will be many heavy hearts if the shop eventually closes its doors for good. If residents of Warren and surrounding towns continue to rally together and support this family- run spot, perhaps that won’t have to occur. 193 Water Street, Warren. 401-245-8964.