Jan. 14, 2015 By Michael Florio
An Astoria hardware store is closing after being in business for nearly 60 years.
Square Hardware, located at 36-16 Ditmars Blvd, will be closing its doors at the end of the month after being open since 1955, according to owner Tom Orama.
Orama, 58, has owned the store since 2000. He started working at Square Hardware in 1980 and was the manager from 1981 until he purchased it from the previous owner.
Orama said there were several reasons why he elected to close—such as the lease was up, the business was in decline and he had some health issues to take care of.
He said that that in the past 10 years business had slowed with the influx of younger residents. These residents, he said, tend to shop online or go to big-box stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond.
Many of the newer residents have also come in from Manhattan and other wealthy areas, he said. “They do not do the hands on repairs that have to be done,” he said.
Furthermore, Orama said, many of his long-time customers have moved out of the neighborhood.
However, he said he would miss the relationships he has with his existing customers.
“I’m dealing with third generation customers now,” he said. “I’m helping the grand kids of people I used to help when I first started working here.”
“I’m ready to move on,” Orama said, who lives East Harlem. “I have nothing but good memories.”
They always made the best key copies. I never had to go back because a key didn’t work. So sorry to see that nice man running the store go but I wish him well.!!
When I lived on the next block over, I went to this store for all my handiwork hardware needs. It was the best. Sad to see such a gem go.
An end of an era. Very sad. Where is our neighborhood going.
Onward and upward. No one shopped in the store. It was way to large for the business was doing.
I first ventured into the hardware store when I moved to Steinway off the corner of Ditmars in 2000. We rented the apartment behind the Chinese Food Restaurant. We had two bedrooms, a sun room that lead to the backyard which we had access to and I sued to mow the small yard with a push mower.
We threw a party one night and the members from the Italian Social Club behind our yard were passing us homemade wine over the fence.
I have continued to visit the hardware store up until I moved to Brooklyn four years ago.
Its a great neighborhood and the Hardware Store was part of it, just like the diner that closed two blocks down Ditmars years ago.
Its sad when neighborhoods change but that’s just the nature of the beast in New York. Always has been, always will be. The newcomers will make new memories for themselves and their neighbors,
It better not become a Sushi place or coffee house.
Sad to hear but it just wans’t happening. Hopefully something amazing will show up in it’s place. Not greek & not crepes!
Like they say John once you go Greek you’ll never be weak!! Stay Strong Astoria Keep Growing!!!!
Sad to hear this. Nice people. But not surprised.
Great store going to be missed ..sad to see it go had seen it coming for a while though … On to bigger and better things !