Don’t bother asking about the price of the the jagged-tooth timber saw, hand-cranked drills or the plow hanging over your head at the Echo Park hardware store known as the J&J Trading Post. None of the antique tools dangling from the ceilings and walls are for sale and most likely never will be because of a promise owner Jose Magallon made more than 30 years ago.
Magallon, a former bartender, purchased the business on Glendale Boulevard south of Temple Street in 1976 from a woman whose husband ran a combination second-hand shop and bar, the Elk Horn. Part of the sale included the large collection of vintage tools (and bar memorabilia) that Frieberg’s husband had amassed over the years if Magallon promised not to sell the items unless absolutely necessary. He’s been offered as much as $600 for one of the lanterns that dangles from a wagon wheel attached to the ceiling. No deal.
“I gave my word to that lady.” Magallon said.
The permanent tool collection crowding the ceiling and walls at J&J has grown over the years as customers donate tools and other objects. How many items are there? Magallon, 72, doesn’t know and he’s not interested in counting either. All he knows that none of it is for sale. “As long as I’m alive.”