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Alabama Original: Lewter Hardware Co.

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Lewter Hardware Co

Lewter Hardware Co

Huntsville looks a lot different than it did 93 years ago.

The population has grown, new businesses have started and even the federal government has a stake in the Rocket City. But, for one hardware store, it might as well be 1928 again.

"It's just the down-home feel," said Caleb Hipp, manager at Lewter Hardware. "The personalized help that you get, it's not just walking into some big store."

For three generations, Lewter Hardware has been a staple of the Huntsville community. Today, brothers Donnie and Mac Lewter own the store. Their great-grandfather started the company in 1928 on Washington Street in downtown Huntsville.

Although the shop has changed with the times to keep up with demand and customer needs, not much is different from 93 years ago. Maybe just some new products — close to 10,000, actually.

"As Mr. Lewter says, 'We carry more stuff than any sensible hardware man ought to,'" said Hipp.

Caleb Hipp, the "Adopted Lewter," is the store manager. He's the go-to when a local do-it-yourselfer has a question, and he's willing to help with just about anything.

For close to 100 years, Lewter's Hardware has served the Huntsville community, helping customers with everything from plumbing to electrical needs. The store has a lot more than basic tools and DIY supplies.

This time of year, employees said, their gardening and plant sales really picks up. They're also one of the few licensed well pump repair shops left in North Alabama.

Longtime customer Jef Park has been coming to Lewter's since he was a little boy. Now he does property maintenance in the Rocket City, and he knows what it's like to run a small business.

"I've been using them ever since, trying to shop local and support local businesses," he said.

They carry branded products but don't take a corporate name like Ace Hardware or True Value. Park says that's what keeps the store so special.

"It's the start of a small business," he said. "You know, it's family-owned, been here forever. It keeps the money in the community."

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