100 Years in Novato! Pini Hardware

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February 09, 2018
Pini Hardware – Write Up for Chamber of Commerce
  • Founding Date/Story/History:
    • Henry Pini, the founder of Pini Hardware, immigrated from Switzerland in 1906. Beginning in 1918, Pini founded his first store on East Grant Ave. in the Verissimo Building between Reichert and Sherman Avenues. Pini set up his store as a small grocery, selling produce that he and his wife raised on their land, in addition to selling dry goods as well. In 1923, Pini moved further down the street on East Grant at the Sherman intersection and expanded to sell items such as hay, grain, coal, clothes, fresh meat, and of course, hardware. In 1929, Pini acquired the land where the Novato Theatre now stands on Grant between Machin and Redwood where he constructed a modern store, with the old Community House used as a warehouse for larger items. At this time, Pini Hardware was one of the largest employers in the city of Novato. In 1942, Henry Pini passed away. His widow, Mary, sold the business and rights to use the Pini name to Douglas Phillips, Baxter Hovis, and Clarence Nelson. Unfortunately, in 1944, a large fire had destroyed the establishment.
    • Through thick and thin, Pini Hardware has thrived though many other tough historical times including both World War I and World War II, and the Great Depression. Despite these various setbacks, in 1945, Pini Hardware was resurrected at 1107 Grant Avenue, with the building donning the famous neon hammer sign, where it proudly hangs in the center of its current location at 1535 South Novato Blvd Ste A in the Nave Shopping Center. In 1968, Ben and Ellarene Young, and Tiernan and Florance Saunders purchased the store. Through this partnership, Pini Hardware joined the Ace Hardware Co-Op in 1970. Later, in 1983, Charles Young and Steve Saunders purchased the store from their parents.
    • In January 2004, Pini Hardware moved to its current location, 1535 South Novato Blvd Ste A in the Nave Shopping Center, a much larger space with more parking. Not only did the increased square footage allow for more merchandise, it allows for greater customer service overall, a staple of the Pini Hardware experience.
    • In 2015, Steve Saunders sold his share of the business to Charles Young, with Young being sole owner of Pini Hardware from 2016-2017. In late 2017, Charles Young announced his retirement and turned over ownership to his sons, Tom, Russell, and David Young.
    • In addition to celebrating Pini Hardware’s 100th year, the Young Family is celebrating ownership of Pini Hardware for 50 of those years!
  • What Our Organization is Known For:
    • Pini Hardware is known for its old-fashioned customer service in a modern environment.
    • Pini Hardware is community-oriented through examples such as sponsoring school sport teams and participating in events like the Downtown Novato Tree Lighting and Scream on the Green!
    • Pini Hardware offers services including knife and tool sharpening, paint color matching, lock servicing, key cutting, propane exchanges, cut chain, tubing, and electrical by the foot, batteries and CFL bulb recycling, and rescreening.
    • Pini Hardware also offers free delivery in Novato!
  • What Our Organization Maybe Not-Known For:
    • Pini Hardware has a growing commercial discount program. From building contractors, to landscapers, schools, and restaurants, commercial accounts receive discounts off Pini Hardware’s regular retail pricing depending on item and quantity ordered. The commercial program allows customers to track their purchases, and through exclusive use of The Supply Place, commercial customers can order from the thousands of items Pini Hardware carries in stock and from many others that Pini Hardware can special order specifically for a commercial customer.
    • Pini Hardware has a price match guarantee! If a customer finds a lower price on an identical item from a local retail competitor, bring the competitor’s current ad and Pini Hardware will match the price, guaranteed!
  • Fun Facts:
    • Pini Hardware offers a Kid’s Club event every month! Come join on select Saturdays for fun arts and crafts1
    • Pini Hardware participates in the annual 4th of July Parade, with the Pini Plunger Brigade as an exciting tradition!
    • The neon hammer sign from the Grant Avenue location hangs in the center of Pini Hardware’s current location, an electric blast from the past!
    • 4 generations of the Young Family have worked at Pini Hardware, and at times, 3 generations working side by side at the same time!
  • Reflection of the Past 100 Years:
    • When asked how Pini Hardware, as a small business, has managed to survive 100 years, most customers mention the store’s friendly customer service. Pini Hardware has changed throughout the decades, morphing as the surrounding community has grown, while maintaining personable interactions with new and returning customers. Pini Hardware used to sell things like refrigerators, TV’s, and horse pack, bridles and saddles. The store has changed from the beginning as Novato has changed, it’s no longer just dairies and agriculture. Technology has also drastically changed how the store operates. Before technology began to become more widespread, price tags were written out by hand and placed on each item in the store. With everything being computerized, it has not only saved time, it has become more efficient. Online retailers offering low prices and fast delivery are now the new norm, but Pini Hardware has every intention of being around another 100 years, offering sincere service with a smile.
  • Our Future:
    • Pini Hardware will continue to offer the exceptional service that we offer now. Ever since 1918, customer service has been the key component in Pini Hardware’s legacy. Pini Hardware wants to share its success with future generations to come, continuing to offer helpful experiences one will remember.
Sources Used
“About Pini.” Pini Ace Hardware | Novato, CA, www.piniacehardware.com/about-pini/.
Weldy, Stephanie. “Novato's Pini Hardware Celebrates 100 Years.” Marin Independent Journal, Marin Independent Journal, 5 Feb. 2018, www.marinij.com/general-news/20180203/novatos-pini-hardware-celebrates-100-years