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Best Hardware Store - 2007
American hardware stores bore witness to three distinct evolutionary stages: First came the mom-and-pop epoch, where a kindly soul would take you by the hand down dusty aisles to find exactly the eyehook or hose bib you'd been searching for. Next came the Ace/TrueValue era, which began to outshine small family-run stores with their bright fluorescents and abundantly organized overstock. Finally, the Home Depot period (in which we're currently "existing," not "living") has all but reduced the hardware-store experience to a degrading, dehumanizing solo search-and-rescue mission followed by a long, slow slog to a faceless automatic scanner. Riverland Hardware not only looks, feels, and smells like a small-town hardware store from the 1960s, it's run by a real-life mom and pop. If you're looking for something, no one has to scroll through SKU numbers on a computer screen to see if it's in stock they'll actually go and pull it off the shelf for you. Sure, Riverland Hardware is tiny. It's mostly there so you can go about fixing your toilet, unclogging your drain, and replacing those sprinkler heads. It doesn't sell riding mowers or gas grills, and it might not be as cheap as the orange, big-box monstrosity with the ocean-sized parking lot. But during those panicky, last-minute trips for hurricane supplies, you'll be so glad you're here instead of there.