Goods & Services

Best hardware store

Photo By Larry Dalton

Emigh Hardware

First, the glass doors.

Every time, upon approaching them, they trigger a mental movie clip of when Kings center Vlade Divac adroitly ducked to fit his 7-foot-1-inch frame safely underneath. Once inside, the smell of popcorn pleasantly distracts. There are checkout counters on the right, but the attention is pulled to the front and left—to the barbecue department.

A small computer monitor plays a Weber promotional video about direct vs. indirect methods of searing meats; below it, elaborate gas-fired grills compete with the more simple Weber kettle designs for the backyard chef’s disposable income, and a nearby shelf is jammed with the tools of outdoor cooking. An end cap of sauces and condiments, with names redolent of Kentucky bourbon, voodoo rituals and blues tunes, beckons nearby.

Walking to the back, along the right, there are new power mowers; on the left, there are aisles of grass seeds, hoses, fertilizers and poisons (note to self: scribble “weed eater” on Christmas list), and the wall is crowded with shovels, hoes, trowels, snippers and edgers—all the necessary implements of the organized gardener. At the back, next to the entry to the nursery, there’s a solitary rack of straw hats, an impulse-sale display positioned to jog the gardener’s memory of sunburned faces past.

While the lush greenery of the nursery beckons, duty calls; you have part of an old faucet assembly, in a paper bag, to be accessed for reference when examining its potential replacement, and time’s a-wasting. A fun game to play is to see how many items on your list you can track down before you’re overwhelmed and humbled enough to flag down one of the blue-jacketed clerks: “Please—help!”

Some things are not intuitively organized: New toilets and seats hunker a couple of aisles away from the plethora of parts needed to ensure the commode’s proper function; shouldn’t they be adjacent?

Sometimes, former KCRA news anchor Stan Atkinson, apparently a home-repair enthusiast, is lurking about. Not today, though.

Enter the sanctum sanctorum in the back, behind the fans. A separate room, overseen by a pair of expert advisers, it’s filled with drawers of nuts, bolts, screws, fasteners, hooks, what-the-heck-is-thises, rolls of chain, rope and bins of nails. On the wall: heating and air-conditioning filters, best changed every three months. On the counter: Personalize your car key with your favorite team’s logo.

Back out front, snippets of conversation: “You could go with a dowel or a closet clothes-hanger rod, which is actually a dowel.” In the paint section, two clerks give conflicting advice on the efficacy of a primer called Kilz. One blue-coat insists it will kill black mold, but his co-worker disagrees.

Finally, moving back up front, through the displays of door knockers, kitschy Americana and tiki torches, through checkout, you can grab a Coke and a bag of popcorn and head for the door. Then, duck and imagine what it must be like to be a starting center on the Kings.
3555 El Camino Avenue, (916) 482-1900,