GOULDSBORO — As a boy, Brent Hurd frequented the former Winter Harbor Ace Hardware store, which stocked everything from house paint and stove pipes to ice-fishing tip-ups. Gazing around at the store’s wide-ranging merchandise, he recalls once declaring to store owner and local builder Gordon Harrington, “I am going to do this when I am 20. I am going end up owning a hardware store someday.”
It took a little longer. Fresh out of high school, following his father, Charles, Brent went to work for the hardware store owner’s construction company. For 20 years now, he has run his own residential building business, Hurd Builders, which serves the greater Schoodic Peninsula area.
Brent, however, fulfilled his boyhood dream in mid-September when he and his wife, Cheryl, bought Gouldsboro’s venerable Anderson Marine & Hardware store and property from Melinda Boumans. Cheryl also owns and operates Schoodic Property Management and Cleaning Services. In less than two months, the Hurds have completely remodeled the Route 1 hardware store, which they see as a family-run enterprise extending through their eventual retirement.
As a builder, Brent has been a regular customer at Anderson Marine & Hardware dating back to when it was owned by Dave Seward, who waited on customers from behind the penny candy-style counter there for 40 years, and by Boumans, who ran the enterprise in the same friendly, neighborly fashion for seven years.
“This is our retirement,” Brent said last week, showing the remodeled store. “As I work my way out of building, this is what I want to step into.”
Like Boumans, Brent is not changing the store’s name. Bouman’s bold roadside sign will remain. He had Seward’s original sign restored and it has been reinstalled on the exterior of the store, which is scheduled to reopen for business at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30. A familiar face to many will be on hand to greet customers. Brent’s aunt Roseanne Shafer will tend Anderson’s sales counter much as she did years ago at Winter Harbor Ace Hardware.
In less than two months, the Hurds have made the 2,300-square-foot building their own. Sunlight streams through new windows illuminating the airy space and pale silver-green walls. The first floor has been completely opened up. Timber posts and beams add a rustic note. Overhead, fans and lighting have been installed. A handsome, hand-crafted sales counter draws the eye. The former penny candy-style counter has gone to a good home as a minerals display cabinet at Washington Academy in East Machias. The entire structure has been rewired and replumbed. A new bathroom and breakroom area have been added.
Standing in the main retail area, where building, plumbing and electrical supplies will be displayed, Brent said he plans to expand product lines, and be more competitive pricewise in order to save local builders the time and fuel spent on runs to big-box retailers in Ellsworth. With the current construction boom going on locally and across Maine, he should know. He and his crew are booked out a couple of years ahead with new homes, additions and remodeling jobs.
“It all the small things,” says Brent, remembering making trips to Ellsworth for nails, silicone caulk, roof vent boots and other odds and ends. He aims to provide the same for the local fisheries, stocking more handy marine parts such as chain, steering helms and hydraulic hoses and cut the time it takes to get boats back in business.
In addition, to the right of the front entrance, a retail space will change with the season. Come late fall, ice-fishing tip-ups, traps, augers and other gear will be stocked. In spring, shoppers can expect to see fishing, camping and gardening supplies.
The one thing, the Hurds stress, is their commitment to continuing smaller services such as cutting keys and glass.
“The local community keeps us busy year-round,” Brent noted, referring to his building business’s customers. “My smaller customers have kept me building during the slow periods.”
Anderson Marine & Hardware’s hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. For more info, call 422-3542 and visit the store’s regularly updated Facebook page.