KANNAPOLIS — A hardware store dating back to 1957 is closing in October.
Lynn Mccallister, 65, took over the business from her father in 1993 and has since run the Bill Davis Supply Co. at 1905 N. Main St. She had it incorporated but does not know the exact date the store was created because there is no official record available before 1957.
The store is compact but offers a wide variety of building materials, from panels to wooden dowels and tools. An industrial fan is at the back entrance to cool the place in summer and a wood stove is inside to warm it up in winter. A time capsule captures decades of business as four generations within the family worked in the company.
“It’s been here since I was born,” Mcallister said. “I grew up here and my children too. I taught them to count the change behind this ledger. If anybody wanted to buy something, I would tell them ‘go pay for it’ (his daughter Anna Baldwin).”
Baldwin, who works as an EMT, said she and her twin sister, Wendy Mcallister, had a playroom in the back of the store that still has a bed these days. Kids are always welcome to come and play when visiting the hardware store, as Lynn Mccallister has a tub full of Play-Dohs, coloring books, crayons and stickers waiting for them. Frequent customers, or as the owner likes to call them — “veterans” — often bring their children and grandchildren to the store. Years ago, Lynn Mccallister remembered the days when every Wednesday was set aside for lunch with friends from the community who came to the store.
Roger Kerley, who brings his great-granddaughter Karliah Gulledge for tutoring classes with Wendy Mcallister on Wednesdays, described Lynn Mcallister as a “babysitter and psychiatrist” in addition to her work on the material. He, too, saw the store grow over the years, as his father brought him in when he bought roofing shingles, lumber, and nails.
“I’m going to bring her here with me and by the time we leave she’s black with dirt from head to toe,” he said. “I get my supplies here. If I need a drill bit or something they don’t have, she (Lynn Mccallister) will order it specially for me.
According to customers, the owner’s knowledge of hardware is so extensive that she can glance at a nickel bolt and tell what size it is or refer them to a recommended size. Since the announcement of the closure, business has picked up, according to the Mcallister family. Lynn Mccallister said she only made $20 a day, but now the Bolt Room, located at the back right of the store, has once again become a popular stop for customers.
“I’ve never seen so many customers in the store,” Baldwin said as she watched her mother attend to each customer who came through the doors. “We welcome everyone.”
Two items remain in the store that Baldwin asked her mother to save: the cash register that has been used since the store opened and a bench that has been a seat for her and her twin sister since they were children. Lynn Mccallister called it the “timeout bench”.
Everything else must go, so an auctioneer must inspect the shop’s stock before contracting services to sell the inventory after the business closes on October 3.
The owner made her decision after her husband was diagnosed with cancer. While receiving his first rounds of chemotherapy, Lynn Mccallister realized it was time to focus on himself as he was awaiting a bone marrow transplant.
“This place is my family and my home,” she said. “It’s a knife in my heart to shut but I have to keep looking forward, not backward. Family comes first.”
Bill Davis Supply Company is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.