Thursday, October 27, 2016

Everything must go as Glassell Park hardware store closes up after 90 years in business

Ed Rauen of Verdugo Hardware | Nathan Solis


GLASSELL PARK— In 1923 Ed Rauen’s grandfather opened Verdugo Hardware on Verdugo Road. In 1939, the business moved to where it sits today on Eagle Rock Boulevard. That’s where Rauen is now currently holding a close out sale on all the merchandise as he prepares to close the family business after nine decades.

“When I’m looking at the end of this sale, I should have a vacant room,” says Ed Rauen, 64, who is planning to retire and lease the property after Verdugo Hardware is liquidated.

Everything must go is an understatement. Tools and other supplies are slashed by 25%. Fixtures, shelves and the clock on the wall are also for sale. Even the Coke machine has a price tag on it.

The closing of the shop will end a long-family tradition.  Ed Raun, who shares his grandfather’s name, said his father worked in the shop during World War II. His brother, Steve, also worked at the store, but left in the 2000s. Ed went to college, became a banker, but returned to the family business about 20 years ago.

Rauen says the hardware business took a hit during the last recession. Business was steady, but never recovered. There were regulars, but they were buying less and less. Rauen is banking on Glassell Park’s changing art scene to take advantage of the location. Rauen says that an old hardware store is the perfect location for an art gallery.

Though he shakes his head thinking about that scenario, “My focus right now is on the closure of the store.”

The aisles at Verdugo Hardware are adorned with banners as a steady crowd pours into the store. Vince Ojeda from Eagle Rock knows the staff by first name.

“Good friendly family atmosphere here,” Ojeda says as he checks out. “It’s going to be sad. But I’ll be back again before they close for good.”

Tim Kagen has been working at Verdugo Hardware for nine years and considers the whole sale bitter sweet. “It’s nice to see that the store has been around for so long. I’ve enjoyed my time here and my life here.”

Assistant manager Connie Muldoon is tapping away at a calculator at the paint counter, ringing up sales under a ladder that towers over her head.

“I’m a little sad. I’ve learned a lot working here. My boss [Ed] works hard. He’s here every day at 4 o’clock every morning, six days a week. He’s ready to retire.”

Verdugo Hardware 
3516 N Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 255-5191


Photo by Nathan Solis


Photo by Nathan Solis

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.

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  1. Oh no!! That’s such great store.

  2. no comments as the owner is white–had it been a latino store the marchers would have come–even though he owns and will now lease the building…

    people are so predictable.

    • Or maybe there’s no comments because he owns the building and isn’t being forced out by someone only concerned about money. It’s sad to see him go long term businesses help create a neighborhood by connecting us to our past. So in that sense it’s sad to see we’re loosing some history but in glad he owns the building and can retire in peace!

    • Thank you Glassellchola. You are a voice of reason on this board.

      You bet if the owner was hispanic that there would be outrage, mostly from the white guilt folks who like to pronounce they’re the hispanic protectors.

    • *George Costanza voice* ah yes, a preemptive race card…

    • “Glassellchola’s” handle is inherently antagonistic towards a specific ethnic group, which is borne out by her subsequent message that is inherently clueless. Otherwise, it’s a miracle that ANY independently-owned hardware store survives in this era of Home Depot. This guy has enjoyed a memorable and tenacious run but he’s finally been overrun by the “change” that pro-gentrifiers constantly praise (flaunt?) as inevitable and preferable. I wonder what’s the difference in this situation? Hmmmm(?) . . . “I wonder”(???).

  3. Well out of all the people u had interview, as long as Ed the owner has been there also has been another person which has been there as a cashier (Joanne Morga)there about 30years. I grew up in that store. I used to close the gates when I was a kid also help out and sometimes after school I would go there and see if any of the workers there want things from the market. Like a soda chips or a sand which . I would get my goodies for going to get them something. Then when a box a screws would fall and need to be put back my mom would pay me to do it. And I say ok money is money… So it is better sweet that it’s closing but u need to also remember all the employees that have served you the owners past and present. So I’m saying a good bye to to a store I grew up in and to Steve Rauen and Richard Rauen. Good luck , Ed well no comment…. And for the LONGEST CASHIER there my mom JOANNE MORGA.. #TrueValue #VERDUGOHARDWARE#RIP

  4. Good customer service here. Every time you walk in, an employee immediately steps over and asks to help you.

    It always felt really sleepy in there, though. I’m sad to see it go, but I’m not surprised.

  5. If you need a small hardware store to fill the void check out Virgils in Glendale.

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